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Taking action through a personal grievance

What you could get: Remedies for a personal grievance

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

If you take a personal grievance to the ERA you can ask them to take one or more of the types of action described below. For information about going to the Authority (see: “The legal process for dealing with employment problems”).

Reinstatement: Getting your job back

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 123, 125–127

The ERA can order your employer to put you back in your previous position or in a position that’s at least as good.

If you’ve asked the ERA to give you your job back, they must order this if it’s reasonable to do this – whether or not they also make some other order like compensation for emotional stress.

If you take a case to the ERA, they can also order your boss to reinstate you temporarily (called “interim reinstatement”) until it decides your case.

Reimbursement: Getting back lost wages or money

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 123, 124, 128

If the ERA decides you’ve lost wages or other money as a result of what your employer did, they must order the employer to reimburse you for this, up to a maximum of three months’ ordinary time wages, although the ERA has a discretion to award you more. The amount that you would otherwise be awarded can be reduced if they decide that you contributed to what happened.

Compensation for emotional stress and other effects

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

The ERA can order your employer to pay you compensation for:

  • the way in which you’ve been affected personally, such as humiliation, loss of dignity, or injury to feelings
  • the loss of any benefits that you might otherwise have expected to get.

Recommendations for the employer to change their practices or take other action

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

Whatever the basis (or “ground”) for your personal grievance, if workplace conduct or practices were a significant factor the ERA can make recommendations to your employer about what should be done to prevent similar problems happening.

If you’ve suffered sexual or racial harassment, the ERA can make recommendations to your employer on what to do about the harasser. This may include transferring them, taking disciplinary action, or taking rehabilitative action to prevent them harassing again (see: “Unfair treatment, discrimination or harassment at work”).

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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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