Think you’ve got a grievance? Who you gonna call…?

I think I speak for most employees when I say that we want things to be simple. We want to find a job we love, with people we like to work with, doing something that adds value or brings us joy.

However, sometimes it’s not that simple. For whatever reason, things can get complicated.

Sometimes this complication can end up with us losing our job or with us making the decision to move on.

Not every ending equals a grievance though.

So how do you know if you have a grievance?

As a starting point, there are some pretty general guidelines that can help you determine if you might have a grievance. Take a look at the questions and answers below. If they sound like your situation it may definitely be worth giving us a call.

1. Termination of your employment – Dismissal:

– Did your employer follow a process (i.e. give you a letter outlining their concerns, allow you to bring a support person to the meeting, outline their concerns and give you an opportunity to present your version of events, take enough time to consider all the information before making a decision) to get to the decision to terminate your employment?

If they didn’t do these things, you might have grounds for a grievance. (There is some flexibility around small employers who may not understand all of their obligations under the law, but we can talk you through this.)

2. Termination under a 90-day trial provision:

– Did your employer meet all of their obligations in relation to your employment agreement (i.e. did they make you aware of the 90-day trial provision in your agreement, does the clause in your agreement comply with the requirements under the law)?

We find that more often than not employers are breaching their obligations in relation to how they treat their employees when there is a 90-day trial provision in the agreement. There’s a good chance that your termination may be unjustified if the provision in your agreement is found to be invalid. We can have a look at your employment agreement and talk you through a potential course of action.

3. Suffering disadvantage in your employment:

– Are you being treated differently because you’re an immigrant?
– Have you been threatened or forced to work in a way that you don’t think is right or breaches the terms of your visa?
– Are you being paid for all the hours you work?
– Did you get the right training and tools to do the job you’re being asked to do?
– Is your employer communicative with you?

There are a number of ways that you may have suffered disadvantage in the workplace. We can talk through your particular situation and help work out if you have the grounds for a grievance.

4. Redundancy:

– Did your employer provide a clear and supported rationale for the decision to disestablish your role?

While business’ do have the right the restructure they need to ensure that they do it in a way that is fair and reasonable. That means that they need to provide enough information to support their proposal and the restructure needs to be for genuine business reasons (it can’t be to get rid of a problem employee!). If you don’t think the restructure completed by your employer was genuine it would be worth giving us a call.

5. No option but to resign:

– Was there something happening in your workplace that made you uncomfortable, made you not feel safe or for any other reason where you believe that you might not have any other option to resign. This may include being bullied, being asked to perform work that is unsafe or that you’re not trained to do or because you’ve been threatened while at work. (Please note that this does not include your employer requiring you to participate in performance improvement processes – if they’ve identified that there are performance concerns, or your is employer taking you through a disciplinary process because there has been an issue at work.)
– Did your employer tell you that if you didn’t resign that you would be fired?

Constructive dismissal is difficult – but not impossible. If you have a concern at work and you’ve raised your concerns with your employer and they have chosen not to do anything to resolve your concerns, you may have the grounds for a constructive dismissal claim.

6. Just need some advice and support?

We don’t just work with employees who want to raise personal grievance claims with their employers.

We can also advocate for employees in meetings and provide advice in regards to all employment matters.

The best place to start is with a phone call – call us on 0800 669 466 to see if we can help you. Or complete our Contact Form

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BACKGROUND OF SITUATION

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Unjustified Dismissal

UNFAIR DISMISSAL

If Your Dismissal Seemed Unfair There’s A Good Chance It Was.
You Need Legal Advice From An Employment Law Specialist Now.

Have you been unfairly dismissed?

We provide legal advice for personal grievances and wrongful or unjustified dismissal in NZ.

What is fair depends on the circumstances.  Any relevant provisions in the employment agreement must be followed.

If an employment agreement does not have a notice period, then reasonable notice must be given.

Employees have the right to be told what the problem is and that dismissal or other disciplinary action is a possibility. Employees must then be given a genuine opportunity to tell their side of the story before the employer decides what to do.

Employees have the right to be supported at a disciplinary meeting by an advocate or support person and there must be sufficient time to organise such representation and prepare for the meeting.

The employer should investigate any allegations of misconduct thoroughly and without prejudice. Unless there has been misconduct so serious that it warrants summary dismissal, the employee should be given clear standards to aim for and a genuine opportunity to improve.

If an employee is dismissed, he or she has the right to ask the employer for a written statement of the reasons for dismissal. This request can be made up to 60 days after they find out about the dismissal. The employer must provide the written statement within 14 days of such a request. If the employer fails to provide this written statement, the employee may consequently be able to raise a grievance after the required 90 day limitation period.

If you think you have a case for unjustifiable dismissal contact us using our contact form, giving us as much information as possible and one of our Advocates will be in touch.

 

From Our Clients

Thousands of employees and employers have trusted us us to help with their employment issues, here are reviews from a handful of them.

I was in a very difficult and sensitive situation

5.0 rating
September 30, 2019
Review of Kam Bailey

I was in a very difficult & sensitive work situation. After contacting a couple of other services with no reply it was Kam from Work law who took on my case & managed everything for me. I was kept well informed a long the way & Kam quickly reached a positive result for me & my employer, amazing!. I really appreciate the work Kam & the Work law team have done. Highly recommended ;0)

Christian McLay

Couldn't be happier with how it all worked out!

5.0 rating
September 24, 2019
Review of Andrea Kelleher

I was lucky enough to have help from Andrea, she was so polite, helpful and made sure that I understood certain aspects to what was going on with the work she helped me with. I couldn’t have asked for a more easier and awesome process, couldn’t be happier with how it all worked out! Thank you heaps! Daniel

Daniel Marinov

Sandy's an Angel

5.0 rating
September 9, 2019

I was having a terrible time at my workplace. Sandy was one of the angels that helped me survive the whole ordeal, she had all the knowledge and experience needed to help, got straight onto my employers and had things settled so quickly. I am very thankful.

Stephanie B

 

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Forced Resignation

If an employer puts pressure (directly or indirectly) on an employee to resign, or makes the situation at work intolerable for the employee, it may be a forced resignation or “constructive dismissal”.

A constructive dismissal – forced resignation is where:

  • the employer has behaved in a way deliberately aimed at causing the employee to resign
  • the employee is told to choose between resigning or being dismissed
  • there has been a breach of duty by the employer (i.e. a breach of the employment agreement or of fair and reasonable treatment) such that the employee feels he or she cannot remain in the job.

However, not all conduct that upsets an employee will be enough to lead to a constructive dismissal. The conduct must be sufficiently serious to justify the employee leaving his or her job. Also, there must be a substantial risk that the employee would leave his or her job as a result of the employer’s conduct, and this risk must have been reasonably foreseeable to the employer.

If an employee feels that they are being pressured to resign then best practice is to raise this with their employer so that there is an opportunity to discuss the issue and try to resolve it. If the matter cannot be resolved and the employee feels that they had no choice but to resign, then the employee can challenge the forced resignation by raising a personal grievance.

Always call us first, once you resign it is harder for us to get you a settlement.

 

If your boss asks you to resign, ask him/her to put it in writing eg a text or email. 

 

Have you already resigned?

If you can answer yes to the questions below, then you may have good grounds to to claim you have been constructively dismissed.

  • Did you really have no choice? 
  • Did you try everything you could to resolve the situation before resigning?
  • Do you have good evidence of what you claim as the cause of your resignation?

    Some other examples

    • If you are given the option to resign or be demoted
    • If you feel you are working in an Unsafe Workplace
    • Assault on an employee
    • Abuse of an employee

We are a No Win No Fee organisation. This means that we will only charge a fee if we are successful in obtaining a financial settlement for you in addition to other terms of settlement, e.g. written apology and reference, changed from being fired to having resigned. Contact us through our contact form. or call our helpline : 0800 NO WIN NO FEE

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