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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Is your employer restructuring your workplace?

Employers may need to make changes with restructuring in the workplace for a variety of reasons, such as:

The law requires employers to provide information to employees when they are considering changes that will affect their jobs and to give them an opportunity to contribute to any decisions.

If you find yourself in the position of being subjected to a restructuring process – our company can provide representation to ensure that your rights are upheld.

Check our page on redundancy

More: When is a redundancy not a redundancy?


Did you know that one of the remedies for unfair dismissal is reinstatement?

Reinstatement, in employment law, refers to placing a worker back in a job he or she has lost without loss of job benefits.

Seeking and obtaining reinstatement allows you to continue with a job that has many benefits particularly ongoing employment and income while you plan your next career move. It may also be that you continue in a job that you like and where the previous problems may be solved that in turn enables you to remain permanently in that job. s. 125 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 provides for the remedy of reinstatement to be awarded by the Employment Relations Authority where it is sought by the applicant and where it is reasonable and practicable to do so. We can help get your job back through negotiation or mediation as well as through the Authority.

Often you need breathing space at work to see what opportunities for other employment are around. Getting reinstated give you that vital time to figure things out.

There can be other solutions to your work problems, for example a change of employment conditions such as working from home, transfer to another area or change of duties. 
We can help you consider this range of possibilities and obtain a solution for you.

Remember that it is preferable to change jobs without any down time affecting income and experience. Reinstatement should therefore be considered as a serious solution to your workplace problems.  Contact Us to discuss your particular case.

Exploitation and Trafficking

People trafficking can be described as modern-day slavery

People trafficking involves the forced exploitation of a person and can take many forms, including being blackmailed or coerced into work, having to work as a condition of accommodation, and forced into prostitution. Trafficking victims are often deceived into believing that they are coming to a country for a legitimate purpose and then find themselves working in an industry they are not trained for and cannot escape from. For example, traffickers may advertise false or misleading job offers to recruit potential victims. Once in the country, their passport may be taken from them and their movements are restricted. They may not have access to authorities or public agencies. People trafficking often involves debt bondage, where people are forced to work for little or no money and under poor conditions to repay perceived debt. They are treated as commodities and profit is made from their ongoing exploitation.

If you are in an exploitative situation or you know someone who is, contact your local Police. The New Zealand Police and Immigration New Zealand are here to protect, not punish victims of crime.


Migrant workers have the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand.

Some employers do not treat their workers according to New Zealand employment law. Exploitation of migrants at work can take many forms. In the worst cases, employers force workers to work in some jobs such as sex work. In other cases exploitation at work may be serious underpayment of wages, being forced to work long hours for little or no pay, restrictions on freedom of movement, or threats against a migrant or their families. We can help you with any Exploitation and Trafficking  grievance you have with your employer and ensure that you receive the benefit and protection of New Zealand employment laws.

If your English is not easy to understand please complete our Client Information Sheet below to help us understand your case.  Then we will phone or email you.

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Employment Relations Authority-Our Advocates are Experts at Employment Law

The Employment Relations Authority is an employment court that deals with employment disputes. It holds investigation meetings and gives a determination or decision that is binding and enforceable.

Where the parties cannot agree on mediation the Authority can direct the parties to mediation. It can also direct the parties to mediation a second time to resolve the dispute.

We can help you go to the Authority to obtain remedies for your grievance. Our employment law experts will advocate on your behalf with the paperwork including the application and witness statements as well as appear on your behalf to conduct the case.

We can undertake compliance proceedings if the other party does not make payment pursuant to the determination.

Most important of all we can assess the financial and other risks you have in seeking arbitration through the Authority and suggest the best way forward.

Call us if you are contemplating going to the Authority or if you cannot make progress with your employment dispute.

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