Don’t Be Pushed Out Of Your Job Due To Your Age

It is no secret in a society that is obsessed with physical appearance, employees fight a battle to stay relevant as they reach middle age. In the workplace, that can result in being passed over for promotions, marginalised, and pushed out to make room for younger employees. Age related assumptions create the perception that older workers are less relevant, while the opposite is often true.

While age discrimination is illegal, in practice it’s difficult to prove. Your employer cannot force you to stop working because of your age. If they do, you could file a personal grievance against them.

In New Zealand, nearly one in three workers is already over 55.

You are protected from age discrimination by the law, and it’s important for you to understand it.

NZ Super and some other pensions start at age 65 but there is no official retirement age in New Zealand. There are a few jobs with exceptions where you may not be able to keep working after a specific age. They include:

  • jobs where being a particular age or in a particular age group is genuinely needed for you to do the job —
    for example, an actor who needs to be a certain age for a role
  • domestic employment in a private household, such as a cleaner or a gardener
  • occupations where the retirement age is written into law — for example, judges and coroners
  • some crew of ships and aircraft employed by foreign-owned companies that are operating in New Zealand
  • your employment contract was signed before April 1992 and that contract specified your retirement age, and you agreed with your employer in writing to confirm or change your retirement age.

If you are being managed out of your position, made redundant or subjected to talks of restructuring, or feel you are being bullied into resigning the burden of proof would be with you. Knowing your rights helps you to stand in power. If you are let go and you suspect your age is a factor, we can help you negotiate a better settlement.

While it may be perfectly okay for colleagues to ask you if you have retirement plans it could also raise a red flag. If you are on the receiving end of snide remarks or ‘digs’ mentioning your age, or suggestions that you should retire start taking notes, who said what and who was there.

So If you find yourself subject to talks of restructure or suddenly under the microscope and you start to worry that this could be a sign that you manager or employer may be looking for ways to terminate your employment it would be a good idea to contact us for some free advise or assistance.

Call us on 0800 669 466 or complete our webform: 

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Sick Leave

Why it’s not such a great idea to pull a sickie

1. Guilt
You’ll spend most of your day worrying if the boss believes you are really sick and thinking of ways to convince everyone at work how sick you were. And, some poor sucker will have to work twice as hard because you’re not there.

2. You’re going to regret that when you spend the rest of the week trying to catch up.

3. Next week you probably are going to genuinely be sick – that’s called karma, and you’re going to have to think twice about having another day off.

Probably not a great idea to pull a sickie when you’re on a 90 day trial either. 

But then..

Sometimes it’s actually quite hard to tell if you are sick or not, so it’s a hard call to make, and then there are those days where you wake up feeling like ####  but as soon as you get up and about you feel great, especially because you’ve scored a day off.  And then there’s mental health days! 

On the other hand don’t be the person who comes to work with a stinking cold and spreads it around to everyone else and acts like they are some kind of saint!

There is no power in the Holidays Act for an Employer to force their Employees to take sick or unpaid leave, however Employers may want to consider alternative options, such as allowing the Employee to work from home or requiring a medical certificate to confirm they are fit to work.

When you’re really sick what do you do?

You need to tell your employer as soon as possible, that you are sick or injured and you want to take sick leave. A phone call is the best way to let your employer know, but your workplace may have its own systems to tell them you are sick.

You might have to prove it

If the employer asks for proof when you are away sick for less than three consecutive days, they should tell you as soon as possible that proof is required and must pay reasonable expenses incurred in getting that proof. They can’t insist that you visit a particular health provider.

If your employer asks for proof of your illness or injury when you are away sick for three or more consecutive days, you’ll have to pay the costs of visiting a doctor to get that proof. For example, if you have been off work for two consecutive days and are still sick on the third day, then your employer can ask you for a medical certificate and you would have pay for the cost of obtaining one.

If you don’t provide proof when it has been requested and don’t have a reasonable excuse, your employer is entitled to not pay you for the leave until you do provide proof.

The Medical Council of New Zealand has given the following guidelines as to what should be contained in the medical certificates:

Date of examination
Time period of treatment
Clinical opinion that outlines activities that are safe for the Employee to undertake and the appropriate restrictions.
Where medical certificates do not contain this information, and Employees consent, the Employer can request for further information to be provided from the medical professional.

What will happen if I get sick and have already used up all of my sick leave entitlement?

If you have to take time off work due to illness but have no sick leave entitlement, talk to your employer about your options. It’s most likely you will have to use some of your annual leave, take unpaid leave, or take sick leave in advance (e.g. if you have not worked there for long enough to have sick leave entitlement).

If you have been on sick leave for a prolonged period of time, or on ACC your employer doesn’t necessarily have to keep your job open for you.  Please get in touch if you are being dismissed due to being unable to work, and we will check your rights.

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We won't contact your employer until we have your permission.


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Bullying and harassment


Bullying is a health and safety issue!  If your workplace has become unsafe because of bullying you are not helpless.

If your workplace has become unsafe because of Bullying and harassment by your bosses or co-workers you can do something about it.


Bullying and harassment can take many forms including abuse, overload of work and unreasonable expectations in performance of duties. You should approach your immediate superior in the first instance to complain and see if the problem can be fixed. If after several such requests the problem is not fixed you can take a grievance.

You may raise a grievance under different statutes depending on the nature of the bullying or harassment. We can help you at the outset to try and resolve your problem and we can help you with your grievance and subsequent progress towards a solution.

Bullying is hard to prove. Just because you feel bullied it doesn’t mean you have a case, but just because it is hard to prove it doesn’t mean you don’t.

What Workplace bullying IS:

  • repeated and unreasonable behavior directed towards a worker that can lead to physical or psychological harm.
  • Repeated behavior occurs more than once and can involve a range of actions over time.
  • Unreasonable behavior means actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person.
  • Bullying may also include harassment, discrimination or violence

What is NOT Workplace bullying:

  • one-off or occasional instances of forgetfulness, rudeness or tactlessness
  • setting high performance standards
  • constructive feedback and legitimate advice or peer review
  • a manager requiring reasonable verbal or written work instructions to be carried out
  • warning or disciplining workers in line with the business or undertaking’s code of conduct
  • a single incident of unreasonable behaviour
  • reasonable management actions delivered in a reasonable way
  • differences in opinion or personality clashes that do not escalate into bullying, harassment or violence.

We must be able to prove that the bully caused harm and also intended to cause harm on more than one occasion.

You will be expected to have kept records of the incidents and to have told someone else, preferably management.


Bullying FAQ

Am I being bullied?

A lot of behaviour by our boss or colleagues may feel like bullying.  A lot of this “bullying” could also be described as unpleasant behaviour, this can cause a lot of stress and even anxiety but it might not be bullying.

Bullying is:

  • Repeated
  • Unreasonable, including: humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person
  • Harassment, discrimination or violence

Bullying is not:

  • Occasional rudeness or one off incidents of unreasonable behaviour
  • High performance standards
  • Constructive feedback or advice
  • Requests for extra work to be done\Warning or disciplining workers according to the code of conduct
  • An argument or difference of opinion (as long as it doesn’t become aggressive)


What do i do if i am being bullied at work?

You should find out if there are any workplace policies or processes for reporting bullying and follow these. There may be specific and trained people in your workplace who know how to deal with these issues in a sensitive way.

If there is no set process or procedure you should do the following:

Make a note every time something happens. Notes should record dates and times, and what was said or done, who was there, and how it made you feel.

You will then need to make your employer aware of the situation
Ideally you would raise the issue in writing.

Who do I raise it with?
It depends on who is bullying you. If it is another employee, you should first raise the matter with your manager or supervisor, or the next level of management if the offender is your manager.

If the person who is bullying you is the Owner of the company, or the manager and there is nobody else to tell you can call us on 0800NOWINNOFEE and we will advise you or assist you.

What should happen after I report that I am being bullied?

After receiving your complaint the business should:

  • Support you and the person you have complained about
  • Decide on a plan for investigation, including possibly suspending the person who is being investigated
  • Give guidance on how to continue to work with the person
  • Report back to you about the steps that have been taken
I reported it and now things are much worse! What do I do now?

Sadly this is what sometimes happens.  You have done the right thing by reporting the issues because that makes it easier for us to help you.  Give us a call as soon as possible and tell us what’s happening and we will try to help.

If you want to know what the risks of not dealing with bullying in the workplace quickly are you should listen to this podcast: 

Bullying Formal Complaint Form

If the bullying is not an immediate threat to your health and you know your Employer is not yet aware of the situation you can use is form to raise a formal complaint:

Print this form and complete it.  Give it to your Manager, or to your HR Department.  This is to make sure your employer is aware of the bullying situation, and gives them the opportunity to respond.

If you would like to talk to us about the situation, even if you haven’t yet raised the issue with your Employer, please feel free to call us, we can help you decide what to do next, or if we can already step in on your behalf.

Please contact us on 0800 669 446 or use the contact form:

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Reviews and Testimonials

Need help?

If things are out of hand at work and you don’t know where to turn just read through some of our reviews below from clients who we have helped. Then contact us on the form below or call us and we will help you too!

What our clients are saying

A great outcome! Thanks Sandy

5.0 rating
March 10, 2019

Thank you so much for all the support I received with my employment problem. You achieved a great outcome to what felt to me like a hopeless situation. I highly recommend the team Work Law, in particular Sandy for her great listening skill and excellent negotiation with my employer. Everyone came away happy with the outcome, I can’t thank you enough.

Micaela B, Wellington

Very skillful, knowledgeable and friendly team.

5.0 rating
February 18, 2019
Review of Jenifer Silva

I highly recommend utilising the very skillful, knowledgeable and friendly team at WORKLAW Ltd.
With an issue as awkward and difficult as what I had and was experiencing, everything was easy to understand, and extremely straight forward. Thanks Jenifer from WORKLAW!!!

Billy-Cloud Allen

Thank you Shayne

5.0 rating
February 18, 2019

I had and employment lawyer and ran out of money to keep paying for his services. He kindly suggested I call Work Law because they can take cases on a no win no fee basis. Shayne actually got me an even better result than my lawyer thought he could get so I was well pleased. Would definitely recommend.


You can trust us to listen

Statistics prove that legal representation improves your chance of a successful outcome. Don't hesitate, you have nothing to lose by having a free chat with one of our experts.

You can Call us or Email Us using the phone number or the form below. 

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Probationary Period

A probationary period is different to a trial period.

A probationary period may be used to trial an employee in a new position within the same company. This gives the employee a chance to prove they have the skills or can learn the skills for the new position. The probation period should be for an agreed length of time.

A probationary employee still has to be paid and receives all the benefits that a permanent employee would get, and the probation period must be set out in the employment agreement, if you have an existing employment it should be updated to include the probationary period.

A probation period can sometimes be longer than 90 days, but only if that is reasonable and agreed to. During the probation period you should be made aware of what is expected to perform the job satisfactorily and you should be monitored and receive feedback.

If there are any problems during the probation period your employer must still follow the correct disciplinary process that is laid out in your employment agreement. If you have been on a probationary period and have been dismissed at the end of it give us a call so we can check that everything has been done fairly and correctly. If the correct procedure has not been followed we can raise a personal grievance for you.

Call us Free on 0800 669 466 or email us below:

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