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:
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.
An Employment Advocate can be very helpful at mediation as they can do the talking for you as your representative.
If you are wondering what a meditaion is like you can ask us for free and we’ll talk it through, there is no obligation to take us with you, we are happy to have a chat about what your individual situation is and see if we can help you.
If you would like to talk to us about supporting you at mediation please complete our contact form.
Click here for our online form, this will help us send your case to the right advocate for you and your case. Please take your time and supply all contact details, this will enable us to help you.
Download our What Do I Do Now Checklist (see below)
“What do I do if I’ve been fired?”
- Contact Us
- If you have just been fired or dismissed and you have no secured future income there are a few steps that you should take immediately to reduce your stress both financially and emotionally. If you have no money in the bank, ring the bank and stop all automatic payments, if there is no money in the bank you could incur fees of up to $25 per payment going out, this is just more money that you don’t have.
- Contact the people that these payments go to and explain your situation.
- Contact your land lord and explain your situation.
- Book an appointment with your doctor if you are extremely distressed or have any symptoms such as; Difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, panic attacks etc…Please get a letter from your doctor explaining what you have visited him for, this will be added to your case file and will become part of your stress and distress claim.
- Contact and visit income support, the sooner that you register for unemployment benefit, the sooner you will be eligible for payment. If we achieve compensation we will usually settle under a tax free and tax exempt section of the act, this will not, in this case have any effect on your benefit.
- Cancel any unnecessary luxuries that will get you further into debt.
- Keep any and all evidence of attempts to look for work, loss of earnings can only be claimed (Unless you are unwell) if you have been actively looking for work.
- Contact friends or family for support to help get you through.
- Exercise even if you don’t feel like it, it will make you feel better and help you think clearly.