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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What to expect when you’re expecting a disciplinary meeting…

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If you have been called to a disciplinary meeting it costs nothing to have an initial conversation with our advocates, we do charge an hourly rate to attend a meeting but if discussions turn to an exit package we can do it on a no win no fee basis. Please get in touch on 0800 no win no fee (0800669466) or complete the contact form below and we’ll talk soon.

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Disciplinary meetings can be unpleasant, but they should be done right…

Our simple guide below will talk you through all the things you should expect to see when going through a process and we have included some handy tips and tricks throughout (should you find yourself at the pointy end of the disciplinary process).

If it’s a “formal” process – what should you expect your employer to do?

1. To kick off the process you should receive an invitation to meeting letter which clearly outlines the following things:

  • What concerns the meeting will be addressing;
  • What supporting “evidence” they have in relation to those concerns (and this should be provided to you);
  • The date, time and location of the meeting;
  • Who else will be attending the meeting;
  • That you can bring a support person / representative to the meeting; and
  • What the potential outcomes of the process might be (eg written warning / termination of employment).

It might also let you know that the organisation has an EAP (Employee Assistance Provider – counsellors etc) and advise that if you want to that you can seek assistance from them in relation to the process.

** If you don’t get a letter or if it doesn’t contain the things outlined above, you can (and should) request this information from your employer. You can refuse to attend a meeting until they have given you all of this information.

*** If you’re bringing a support person / representative to your meeting and they’re not available, you can ask for another date so that your person can attend the meeting. An employer must entertain a “reasonable” delay (but reasonable = a couple of days / up to a week).

**** Sometimes it’s helpful to review your organisation’s disciplinary policy / process document. If your organisation doesn’t have one your organisation should ensure that their process meets natural justice and good faith obligations.

2. During the meeting your employer should do the following:

  • Take minutes / notes of the meeting (you should also take your own notes);
  • Provide you with a copy of the notes once the meeting is concluded;
  • Talk through each of the points raised in the invitation to meeting letter and provide any supporting evidence;
  • Give you an opportunity to provide a response on each of the concerns raised / supporting evidence (and if there’s a lot of information it might be reasonable for you to take it away to consider before providing a response);
    * Not ask you to respond to allegations or concerns which aren’t outlined in the invitation to meeting letter;
    * Follow the process that’s outlined in the organisation’s disciplinary policy / process;
    * Talk you through the potential outcomes of the process and give you an opportunity to respond;
    * Genuinely consider the information that you provide in your response;
    * Take an adjournment prior to making any decision; and
    * Not have any pre-written decision letters which they give to you at the first meeting.

** It’s recommended that either you (or your support person) take notes, as this becomes your record of the conversation. These may become important if there is a dispute that arises around the content of the meeting. If it’s just you, and you want to record the meeting, make sure you ask your employer if they’re ok with a recording of the meeting being made.

*** Be honest! There’s nothing worse than being caught in a lie. If it becomes clear that you may have been dishonest, your employer can reissue the invitation to meeting letter and include an allegation of dishonesty (which is considered by most organisations to constitute serious misconduct and can be the basis for a claim (by your employer) that the inherent trust in the employment relationship is broken – opening the door to the termination of your employment).

**** In some instances (where the issues are minor) it may be appropriate for your employer to provide an outcome after they have taken an adjournment within the same meeting. For more serious matters (or where the organisation is considering a final written warning or termination of employment) it would be expected that they take an overnight adjournment.

***** The outcome that you receive from this process should match one of the potential outcomes indicated on the invitation to meeting letter. If your outcome is different to what was indicated (you get a final written warning but the letter says up to a written warning) you should raise this with your employer immediately.

3. Following the meeting your employer should:

  • Supply you with an outcome letter that outlines the meeting process, the discussions that were had and the things that were considered by the organisation prior to making their decision;
  • Identify what happens next (especially if there’s something in addition – like extra monitoring or reviews) and specify when those things will happen;
  • Keep the process and the outcome confidential (no one who wasn’t involved in the process should know that it was going on) – you need to keep it confidential too; and
  • Ideally they should tell you that the matter is now closed and that everyone moves forward from this point.

What should you do?

  • Be honest!
  • Remember that you want to maintain your employment relationship – this was an organisation you wanted to work for and want to (ideally) keep working for!
  • Be honest (this one’s important!)
  • If you don’t have all the information you need to provide a full response – ask for it!
  • If there’s anything you don’t understand – ask for clarification!
  • If you can, take a support person – when you’re in the middle of a process it can be difficult to think straight and make the best decisions.
  •  There’s nothing wrong in asking for help – talk to a trusted friend or family member.

No Win – No Fee also provides representation services – call 0800 669 466 and our advocates can talk through your issue and work out the right solution for you.

Emma Moss-Employee Advocate

Emma Moss is a WorkLaw Advocate who has spent the last decade working in senior human resource roles.
She is currently undertaking a law degree through the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

What did Harvey do?

 

Harvey Weinstein

He did what people in power have done for centuries. He used and exploited those who worked for him and those who wanted to work for him, to serve his own need.
 

He harassed, he bullied, he coerced and then he threatened anyone who dared to challenge his behaviour. 

 
The result for Harvey Weinstein has been life changing. There is not a person in the developed world who doesn’t know what it is alleged that he has done. The reputational damage caused by this scandal, will be long-lasting and potentially indefinite. Needless to say, life for that Harvey, will never be the same. 
 

If only the repercussions in the New Zealand employment world for bullying in the workplace were so public, so easy to verify (the strength in the Weinstein case was the number of women who came forward with the same claims) and the justice so swift.

 
Unfortunately it’s not, and the burden of proof in organisational bullying and/or harassment cases often rests with the employee who (we recognise) is starting from a position of trauma (with the good faith in their organisational relationship in tatters), and who must then try to construct a join-the-dots of what happened, of who said what and when. 
 
Thankfully, the shining light in the workplace bullying landscape is WorkSafe who have ensured that employees and employers are finally getting better “bullying in the workplace” resources.
 
WorkSafe NZ have developed a “bullying in the workplace toolbox”  and includes a checklist of behaviour and action examples which can help individuals identify whether the experiences they are having in their workplace, might be considered bullying. 
 
WorkSafe have also helped to define what bullying is (repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that can lead to physical or psychological harm).
 
They have also defined repeated behaviour (persistent (occurs more than once) and can involve a range of actions over time) and unreasonable behaviour (actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person).
 
For a bullying claim to have any chance of success, an employee must show that the behaviour they experienced meets this criteria. The more specific the examples and details, the greater the likelihood of success. 
 
A question we may pose in this situation is “what is the worst thing your organisation has done to you?” as the starting point in our conversation with you about your experiences at work. This is not to say that there is always a “worst thing” and we recognise that your experience might be a lot of little things repeated over time.
 
What we do understand and what we focus on, is how these actions make you feel. 
 

Employee claims of organisational bullying are not easy. They are difficult for both employees and employers.

The initial conversations can often be difficult and emotional and this is where our advocates can lend their support and expertise. 
 
The process may not be straightforward and can vary depending upon individual circumstances, but our advocates can talk you through the steps of the process and the types of outcomes you may expect.
 

Our advocates are more than happy to talk through your situation and identify what we can do to help and support you. 

 
One final thought about the Weinstein scandal and the saddest part for me, is the number of people who knew what was going on and stood idly by. Bullying within organisations can be the same, and the chances are, that if you are being bullied at work, that you are not the only one.
 
On the flipside, you may not be the recipient of bullying behaviour, but if you know someone that is, will you also stand idly by?  
 

Emma Moss-Employee Advocate

Emma Moss is a WorkLaw Advocate who has spent the last decade working in senior human resource roles.
She is currently undertaking a law degree through the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

If you think you’re being bullied or are concerned about a situation you have in your workplace, it costs nothing to have an initial conversation with our advocates, please get in touch on 0800 no win no fee (0800669466) or complete the contact form below and we’ll talk soon.

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You’re fired! Sacked or dismissed

If you’re fired or unfairly dismissed

Find out what your rights are as an employee to fight unfair dismissal.

Have you been Fired, Sacked or Dismissed on the Spot?

This just shouldn’t happen under New Zealand Employment Law.

If your boss has fired or sacked you without warning you are likely to have a case and we can arrange to talk with your employer about a financial settlement or represent you at mediation or employment court.

The experience of losing your job is likely to be an unpleasant one and you will likely be very upset.   We are great listeners, and you will feel better for picking up the phone and getting some expert help.

Do you need an Employment Lawyer?  We do have an Employment Lawyer on our team who you can hire at an hourly rate.  However we have a mixture of Employment Lawyers and Advocates, our whole team are Employment Law Experts, so you will be in good hands.

One of the biggest differences between lawyers and advocates is the way they charge for their services.  Advocates can work on a contingency fee, which is commonly referred to as “no win – no fee”.  This means if we take on your case we will charge you a percentage of any payout you receive. If you lose the case, you pay nothing.

We are Employment Advocates.  We only get paid if we win your case.  This means we need to be selective about the cases we take on.  It’s absolutely free to call us and discuss your situation.

80% of cases are resolved prior to or during mediation.  

If you are unsure whether or not you have a case just give us a call to discuss your situation.

Note: If you were violent or very abusive in the workplace, an employer is very likely to be justified in firing you and asking you to leave immediately, and it is unlikely we will be unable to assist.

Phone us on 0800 NO WIN NO FEE (0800 669 466) or fill in our form.

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Ka mau te wehi Sandy

5.0 rating
May 31, 2019
Review of Sandy Jamison

We would like to firstly acknowledge Sandy who took my call last year and steered us in the right direction of “where to go” and more importantly “what to do”. Sandy was brilliant and understanding and put our minds at ease immediately.
Kia ora to you Sandy.
Ka mau te wehi.

Richard Puru

How do I raise a Personal Grievance?

There are formal steps to follow to raise a Personal Grievance

Prior to formally raise a Personal Grievance you must first bring the issue to the attention of your employer within 90 days.  If an employer is not aware of an issue it’s difficult to hold them accountable.   It is best to raise the issue in writing, via email or a letter and you should give your Employer a reasonable amount of time to respond (you can ask for a response within 3 days for example).  If you’re not satisfied with their response, you can request your employer attends a mediation with you.  If that fails, you can take your grievance to the Employment Relations Authority

Raising a Personal Grievance is a formal process.  It is best to raise your Personal Grievance in writing.  The issue will need to be stated clearly, along with details of your attempts to resolve the issue.  Dates and records of responses are important.    We can raise a personal grievance on your behalf. Email us or call us on 0800669466 

If you think you have grounds for raising a personal grievance but you are not sure, and If you would like us to review your issue for free and see how we can help you please complete the following contact form to be put in touch with an expert employment advocate in your area

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