When is a personal grievance payout (NZ) applicable?
What is a personal grievance claim?
A personal grievance is a formal complaint that is made by an employee against their employer – or former employer – when the matter has not been resolved internally or through direct consultation with the employer.
What is covered by the term ‘personal grievance?’
An employee can raise a personal grievance if they believe that their employer has acted unfairly or unreasonably towards them. This is covered by the Employment Relations Act 2000.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 sets out to build productive employment relationships. The act sets out expectations of good faith for employment relations including but not limited to employment agreements, union membership, bargaining, employee leave, disputes and penalties.
Personal grievance claims can refer to poor treatment, humiliation, loss of dignity, or if an employee feels that they have been unjustifiably dismissed, harassed or discriminated against.
The below definitions are brief and not exhaustive, talk to someone today for a fuller discussion of the following grievances.
Unjustified Dismissal: if you believe that your employer has not followed the correct procedure when you have been fired, made redundant, or otherwise dismissed.
Unjustified Disadvantage: if you believed that your employer has taken actions which are unjustified and have caused you disadvantage – for example, if your employer has failed to address bullying or harassment in the workplace, or not issuing benefits that you are entitled to.
Discrimination: if you feel that you are being treated differently or unfairly due to your age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethical belief, marital status or any of the factors prohibited by the Human Rights act 1993.
Racial Harassment: if you have been targeted, mocked, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable for your race, or had racially motivated comments made about you.
Sexual Harassment: if you have been subjected to unwelcome requests for sex or sexually suggestive comments from employers, colleagues, or customers.
Duress: if you have been pressured over your membership or non-membership of a union.
How much is a personal grievance payout (NZ)?
A personal grievance payout (NZ) is variable. The level of compensation awarded can vary on the severity of the breach by the employer as well as the type of breach. The payout amount can often be related to the sum of wages lost, and for cases of humiliation and distress payouts awarded have typically been lower lump sums.
What are the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court?
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) is an independent organization below the Employment Court. The ERA is more formal than mediation and makes a binding decision but not as formal as the Employment Court.
What happens when starting a personal grievance claim?
The first step you can take is to raise a personal grievance with your employer and attempt to resolve the problem while maintaining a positive employment relationship. Keep copies of all communication regarding the grievance, making sure that your complaint is clearly stated and backed up with evidence.
If this is unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, mediation is the next step. Mediation refers to a third party that assists the resolution in an informal and confidential way. This can be done independently of the employer if you feel unable to go through the employer due to the type of grievance being raised.
The next step is to file a personal grievance claim with the Employment Relations Authority.
We suggest getting advice before starting the official process in order to ensure that your case is as strong as possible before embarking on a claim. We can represent you during the mediation stages as well as help prepare you for the settlement process and negotiate a Full and Final Settlement Agreement with an employer.
Contact our team of employment law experts for more information and to discuss making a claim.