Frequently Asked Questions about No-Win-No-Fee employment law

FAQ

About Us

What is no win no fee?

No Win No Fee literally means if we don’t win you don’t pay a fee. When you have lost your job or are faced with the prospect of losing your job because of a situation that has arisen with your employer it’s the least likely time you will be able to afford a lawyer.

If there are occasions that we will charge you an hourly rate we will let you know.  For example, If we need to attend your disciplinary meeting if you are wanting to save your job we do charge a meeting fee of $250+gst per hour.

What happens if you lose a no win no fee case?

If you lose you will not have to pay a fee. Because we don’t get paid for our time and efforts if we don’t win we don’t take on a case if we don’t think it will be successful.

Are you employment lawyers?

All our Employment Advocates are Employment Law specialists. Some have Law Degrees and some come from an HR background.  All are experts in Employment Law.

What is an employment advocate?

An Employment Advocate is like an Employment Lawyer.

We are legal and human resources experts who know employment law like the back of our hands.

We can defend you in your workplace and all the way to the employment court if necessary.

Employment Advocates either hold law degrees or HR qualifications.  Our Advocates are ALL specialists in Employment Law.  We are fully equipped to help with any Employment Relationship Problem you are facing.

Are you funded?

No we are not funded  

We are careful what cases we do which is why we give a free consultation over the phone as our first point of contact.  We carefully consider the facts before we agree to take your case on a no win no fee basis.  Sometimes we need to charge an hourly rate but we always let you know straight away whether it is no-win-no-fee or hourly rate so there won’t be any surprises.  Most of the time we can get your employer to contribute to your costs, and what we can’t get your employer to cover we take as a percentage of what we win for you. More details on our fees page.

Bullying

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 the bullying 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.

No Win No Fee

What happens if you lose a no win no fee case?

If you lose you will not have to pay a fee. Because we don’t get paid for our time and efforts if we don’t win we don’t take on a case if we don’t think it will be successful.

Personal Grievance

What is a personal grievance?

A personal grievance is when an employee brings a formal complaint against their current or former employer.  An employee has 90 days to raise a personal grievance.
To raise a personal grievance after the 90 days there would need to be exceptional circumstances.

What qualifies as a grievance?

Employees can bring a personal grievance for the following complaints:

  • Unjustifiable dismissal (unless the dismissal took place while the employee was on a valid 90 day trial period)
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Racial harassment
  • Bullying where the employee has raised the issue and not received a response or adequate action
  • Restructuring causing redundancy without correct process
  • Disadvantage to an employee due to the employment agreement not meeting legal requirements for:
    • agreed hours of work
    • availability provisions
    • reasonable notice periods to be given before cancellation of a shift
    • reasonable compensation to be paid if a shift is cancelled
    • secondary employment provisions.
  • Unfair treatment of an employee who has lawfully refused work
  • Where an employer forces or persuades an employee not to perform a function, exercise a power or undertake a role under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Where an employer compels a shop employee to work on Easter Sunday or treats a shop employee adversely because they refuse to work on Easter Sunday.
How do I raise a personal grievance?

If possible you should first discuss the problem with your employer.  Your employer should be aware there is an issue and be given an opportunity to fix it.  You should communicate the issue in writing and ask for a response within a set time frame, eg 3 days.

You should clearly describe the issues and the events that have led to the problem.  You should provide details and names and dates of who was present when there was a problem.  Email the letter to your employer and keep a copy.

If the employer is unwilling or unable to resolve the issue you can request a mediation. It’s helpful to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer or employment advocate at this stage.

90 day trial period

What is a 90 day trial period?

A 90 day trial period is a clause an employer may put in your employment contract which, when used correctly, enables the employer to take on a new employee on a trial basis for a period of 90 days.  If, for any reason, the employment relationship does not work out within the first 90 days the employer may end the employment relationship without the risk of the employee raising a personal grievance.

I have been dismissed with no notice on my trial period, is that fair?

There should be a clause in your employment agreement which states how much notice you will be given if you are dismissed during your trial. In general this means that if the employer wants you to leave straight away (rather than working through your notice period), then they must pay you for the notice period.

The notice period for your trial period can be different from the notice period once you are finished the trial period, as long as the notice period for the trial is specified in the employment agreement. If the notice is not specified for the trial then your employer should adhere to the notice period in the employment contract.

If you are confused about your notice period, or have been dismissed on the spot without any notice you can call us free to find out if there is a case for unfair dismissal.

What are the employment law rules for a 90 day trial period?

If the 90 day trial clause is uses incorrectly an employer may be shocked to find out that the employee can still raise a personal grievance or claim unfair dismissal despite the 90 day trial clause being present in the employment contract.

A trial period can be less than 90 days
We refer to the 90 day trial clause but the number of days can be less than 90 days, and the exact number of days needs to be specified on the employment agreement.

The 90 day trial clause may be invalid if:

  • You were not informed in writing that your employment contract contained a 90 day trial period before you started work. Or if you signed the employment agreement after you had already started work (even by a few hours)
  • You have previously worked for the employer
  • Your employer has more than 20 employees
  • You were not advised that you had the right to seek independent legal advice or given time to seek advice before signing the contract

The clause didn’t include the correct wording of the Employment Relations Act 2000 Section 67A :

67A When employment agreement may contain provision for trial period for 90 days or less

(1) An employment agreement containing a trial provision may be entered into by a small-to-medium-sized employer and an employee who has not previously been employed by the small-to-medium-sized employer.

(2) For the purposes of this section and section 67B,—

small-to-medium-sized employer means an employer who employs fewer than 20 employees at the beginning of the day on which the employment agreement is entered into trial provision means a written provision in an employment agreement that states, or is to the effect, that—

(a) for a specified period (not exceeding 90 days), starting at the beginning of the employee’s employment, the employee is to serve a trial period; and
(b) during that period, the small-to-medium-sized employer may dismiss the employee; and
(c) if the small-to-medium-sized employer does so, the employee is not entitled to bring a personal grievance or other legal proceedings in respect of the dismissal.
Section 67A: replaced, on 6 May 2019, by section 36 of the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 (2018 No 53).

How much notice do I have to give if I leave my job during my 90 day trial?

Every employment agreement requires that the parties give each other notice to end the relationship.

The notice you give should be the same as the notice that your employer would have to give you according to the trial period clause in your agreement. As the employee you also should act in good faith.  If you are unhappy in your new job we would encourage you to have a conversation with your employer.  If you leave without giving the notice period that is set out in your employment agreement the employer may deduct wages in lieu of notice. In the event that the employer suffers a financial loss as a result of you failing to give notice the employer may take action in the Employment Relations Authority to recover those losses and to seek a penalty.    If you find yourself in the position of wanting to leave and are unable or unwilling to give notice you should seek legal advice from an employment lawyer or advocate.   It’s free to call us to discuss your situation with us.

What clients say about us

Kam is impressive to watch

5.0 rating
March 20, 2020
Review of Kam Bailey

I found Kam to be very impressive to watch. She was so calm and in control you couldn’t help but feel your in safe hands. Always told the truth and the possible outcomes each way.

Andrew R

Response from No Win No Fee

Thanks Andrew, we agree, Kam’s experience and knowledge of employment law is truly impressive.

Kam did a fantastic job

5.0 rating
March 17, 2020
Review of Kam Bailey

Did a fantastic with a company that’s hard to deal with because of size, Answered all my questions, were awesome to deal with, kept me informed all the way through this process, I just cannot thank her enough, without her help I wouldn’t have gotten anything, thankyou again for all your help, I just cannot recommend you highly enough,

Ian H

We have an Advocate on our team just waiting for your email or your call.  Email us anytime and we'll reply within a couple of hours on weekdays.

  We're on the phone between 9am - 5pm weekdays.

0800 NO WIN NO FEE

CONTACT AN ADVOCATE TODAY

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What our clients are saying

Kam is impressive to watch

5.0 rating
March 20, 2020
Review of Kam Bailey

I found Kam to be very impressive to watch. She was so calm and in control you couldn’t help but feel your in safe hands. Always told the truth and the possible outcomes each way.

Andrew R

Response from No Win No Fee

Thanks Andrew, we agree, Kam’s experience and knowledge of employment law is truly impressive.

Kam did a fantastic job

5.0 rating
March 17, 2020
Review of Kam Bailey

Did a fantastic with a company that’s hard to deal with because of size, Answered all my questions, were awesome to deal with, kept me informed all the way through this process, I just cannot thank her enough, without her help I wouldn’t have gotten anything, thankyou again for all your help, I just cannot recommend you highly enough,

Ian H

Sandy was excellent

5.0 rating
March 17, 2020
Review of Sandy Ward

I would not hesitate in recommending workplace to anybody in need of work related help
Thankyou for your help

Chris Cook

Employment Agreements – IEA

Good employment relationships occur when everyone has clear expectations about the role, working conditions and employment rights.

Every employee must have a written employment agreement.

This can be either an individual agreement or a collective agreement which sets out the terms and conditions of employment.

There are some provisions that must be included in employment agreements by law, and there are also a number of minimum conditions that must be met regardless of whether they are included in agreements.

We are surprised at the amount of callers who have no employment agreements in place.

Under s63A of the Employment Relations Act 2000 an employer must provide an employee with a written employment agreement, and penalties may be awarded under s64 if no written employment agreement is provided.

Employees should be given a reasonable amount of time to look over their agreements and return them. An employer must ensure that the agreement is signed and returned to them before you start work.  This is particularly important if the Agreement is relying on a 90 Day Trial Period being in place. 

For example, a standard agreement clause allows the employer to deduct wages in lieu of notice. This is not enforceable without your signature on the agreement. The reason for this is because there is a separate piece of legislation that protects employees’ wages under the Wages Protection Act 1983. Under the Act you may not make deductions from employees’ wages without their consent. The employment agreement provides the consent that is legally needed to carry out any deductions in employees’ wages.

Our company is able to check your employment agreement to ensure that it meets the required standard – and also to resolve situations where your employment contract has been breached.  Contact us if you have no employment contract and need our help to deal with your employer.

Call us on 0800 669 466 and let us connect you with the right people and proccesses to help you or email us using the form provided below.

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What do I do if I have been fired?

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?”

  1. contact-usContact Us
     
  2. 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.

     

  3. Contact the people that these payments go to and explain your situation.

     

  4. Contact your land lord and explain your situation.

     

  5. 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.

     

  6. 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.

     

  7. Cancel any unnecessary luxuries that will get you further into debt.

     

  8. 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.

     

  9. Contact friends or family for support to help get you through.

     

  10. Exercise even if you don’t feel like it, it will make you feel better and help you think clearly.

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