Every company will deal with employee-related complications at some point. As a responsible New Zealand employer, you must know how to compose yourself when dealing with grievance cases,  the redundancy process and your employees’ rights. It helps you in maintaining a quality team, keeping employment related issues under control and saving time, energy and resources. This how to guide is here to help you navigate the maze of employee law and provide some general information on what to do in certain situations. For this guide we will be using grievance handling and a problematic employee as examples, covering how to help.

Facing Employee Grievances

When an employee files a personal grievance case, this challenges your rights, obligations and duties. As a responsible employer, be prepared to defend yourself while proving that you treat your employees fairly.

The Employee Relations Act 2000 gives a go signal for grievances given the following complaints:

  • Unjustifiable dismissal or actions which disadvantage the employee
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual or racial harassment
  • Pressure due to employee organisation membership
  • An employer’s neglect of their obligations regarding the continuity of employment for those affected by reformation

A responsible employer is aware that the case must be raised on a 90-day period after the filing of the grievance.

Dealing with Employee Problems

There is no company that does not deal with problems regarding employees. To be a just employer means to be careful and deliberate when warning or dismissing an employee. You must give out appropriate sanctions and follow the proper redundancy process, because it reflects on the company as a whole and is required by law.

Have concrete guidelines on employee conduct and performance so that they know how they must act as representatives of the company. This also helps them know when they’re overstepping boundaries. Familiarize yourself with your rights under New Zealand’s employment law as it has a guide on how to deal with a range of issues including employee work abandonment, long-term illness and incapacity.

Understanding Employees’ Rights

Naturally, a company has to consider the factors which affect the well-being of its employees, like regular breaks and working arrangements. Employees have the right to request for flexible working arrangements to help them find a suitable work-life balance. As a considerate employer, you must respect that your employees need to rest, eat, drink and deal with personal matters. Settle on a reasonable negotiation for both parties’ advantage.

To keep employment relations amicable, for your employees’ and your own peace of mind, you must be aware of the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.


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