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Taking action through a personal grievance

Raising a personal grievance: The process

How do I raise a personal grievance with my employer?

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 114

You do this by making your employer, or a manager or supervisor, aware that you believe you have a personal grievance and that you want the employer to address it. For example, this could be by approaching the employer directly or by writing them a letter.

Although you can raise a grievance verbally, it’s better to raise it in writing by letter or email so that you have a record of all the details. You should give enough details about the problem for the employer to respond to, and keep a copy for yourself.

If you do raise the grievance verbally, it’s helpful to take notes of what you and your employer said, as you can use these notes later at mediation or the hearing.

How much time do I have to raise a personal grievance?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 114, 115

You must raise the personal grievance with your employer within 90 days after the action that led to the personal grievance, or within 90 days after you became aware of the action, whichever is later.

You can raise a personal grievance after the 90-day period only if your employer agrees to this or if the ERA allows it. The ERA will only allow this if there are exceptional circumstances and it would be “just” to allow it.

What happens after I raise a personal grievance?

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 114

If you’ve raised a personal grievance with your employer and you’re not satisfied with their response, a free mediation service is available to help resolve the problem – this is the Mediation Service run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).

If mediation doesn’t work, you can take a case to the ERA (see: “The legal process for dealing with employment problems”).

Note: If you decide to take action against your employer in the ERA, you must do this within three years after you raise the personal grievance with your employer.

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Resolving employment problems

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of information on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Website: www.employment.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 20 90 20
Information about resolving problems at work: www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems
Early Resolution Service (free phone-based service to resolve issues before they become serious): www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/early-resolution
Free Mediation Services: www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/mediation

Te Kauae Kaimah/New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

Te Kauae Kaimah is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

Website: www.union.org.nz
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz
Phone: (04) 385 1334

Labour inspectorate

Labour inspectors monitor and enforce minimum employment conditions. To refer a problem to a labour inspector, you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

Website: www.mbie.govt.nz/position-descriptions/employment-services/labour-inspector-employment-services and www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/labour-inspectorate
Phone: 0800 20 90 20

Employment Relations Authority (ERA)

If you’re unable to settle at mediation (see under “Mediation of Business, Innovation & Employment” above), the next step is to file your claim in the ERA.

Website: www.era.govt.nz
For contact details in your local area: www.era.govt.nz/footer/contact-us

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