If you have raised a Personal Grievance with your Employer or previous employer (within the 90 day deadline), and you have not received a satisfactory response you can take the grievance to mediation.
What is mediation?
Mediation services are available to Employees as a method of solving employment problems before they go to the Employment Court (the ERA). When needing to identify the issues, resolve disputes and reach an overall outcome a third party called a ‘Mediator’ is available to help.
A successful mediation aims to save time, energy and potential costs & losses. This is a semi-formal, confidential option which allows parties to negotiate and focus on interests, agendas and opportunities to move beyond the issue at hand. We wouldn’t take you to mediation without first assessing you have a good case and being confident that we can get you your desired outcome.
Why should you take an Employment Law Advocate to mediation?
We are experts in New Zealand Employment Law. We know your rights, we have a lot of experience with these matters, and we know what financial (and other) compensations are appropriate.
Most often the employer will bring an Employment Lawyer or Employment Advocate themselves and this can put you at a disadvantage both emotionally and intellectually. You can represent yourself, but knowing your rights and being able to stay calm and open minded during the process is important.
To ensure the best outcome we recommend you seek representation by someone who has legal experience such as an advocate, lawyer or even a community leader. Lawyers usually charge by the hour. Because the mediation process can be quite time consuming it can be very expensive to hire a Lawyer. Our Advocates are legal experts, with specialised knowledge of employment law. We can represent you all the way to the Employment Court if necessary. Our fees are much less than it would cost to use a lawyer. We will take your case to mediation if we think we can get you a financial outcome. You don’t pay us unless we do.
Our Employment Advocates will:
- help you prepare for mediation,
- gather facts,
- set out the law
- identify the most appropriate solution for the issue,
We attempt to obtain a fair compensation based on the facts presented and the ways in which your employer may have breeched your rights under NZ Employment Law.
Having an Advocate represent you does not mean that you will not be involved. Keeping involved in the process will be beneficial to voice any concerns you may have, and give the other party a chance to consider what you are saying. This can be one of the most important parts of your mediation.
You are also able to bring along a support person to your mediation should you wish. The role of a support person is to provide you with emotional support throughout the process.
Both sides get to agree on the outcome.
Most of the time mediation is successful. But occasionally things take a little longer.
If no agreement is reached the case may be escalated to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
Sometimes the ERA Member will direct you back to mediation.
At the ERA the final outcome is decided by the authority member (Judge) and neither party will have a say in the settlement. The danger in taking disputes to the ERA is the chance of loss and that you may be ruled against. In some cases costs may be awarded against you, if you are seen to be the person that is in the wrong.
See our page on ERA to get further information on this option.