Employment Relations Consultants Ltd
 Types of Personal Grievances or disputes
 

Please note that these definitions are intended as a guideline only and should not, under any circumstances, be considered as “legal advice”.  The individual nature of all employment related matters means that proper legal advice should be always be sought prior to any action being taken. Any uncertainty about whether or not a personal grievance exists can be addressed with our free consultation service. (home)

Unjustified Dismissal – This is where an employer dismisses an employee for any reason and the employee believes that the dismissal was unfair or unwarranted.  In some cases the employee may suspect that the dismissal occurred for an unstated reason or that the employer may have had an ulterior motive.  In some cases the dismissal may be termed unjustified because the dismissal was carried out in a procedurally unfair manner.

Constructive Dismissal – This is the most difficult of employment law matters to prove.  In simplistic terms this occurs when an employee is put in an untenable situation and feels that he/she cannot possibly continue to work under the circumstances. All efforts to have the situation addressed by their employer have failed and the employee feels they have no other option but to resign.

Unjustified Disadvantage – This is where an employer makes changes without proper consultation to conditions of employment which may be to the employee’s disadvantage.

Sexual Harassment –  This is a very serious and complicated claim. The definition of sexual harassment is clearly defined in The Employment Relations Act 2000 in section 108 which reads:

 108.Sexual harassment

(1)   For the purposes of sections 103(1)(d) and 123(d), an employee is sexually harassed in that employee's employment if that employee's employer or a representative of that employer—

(a)   directly or indirectly makes a request of that employee for sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or other form of sexual activity that contains—

                                                             (i)      an implied or overt promise of preferential treatment in that employee's employment; or

                                                           (ii)      an implied or overt threat of detrimental treatment in that employee's employment; or

                                                         (iii)      an implied or overt threat about the present or future employment status of that employee; or

(b)   by—

                                                             (i)      the use of language (whether written or spoken) of a sexual nature; or

                                                           (ii)      the use of visual material of a sexual nature; or

                                                         (iii)      physical behaviour of a sexual nature,—

directly or indirectly subjects the employee to behaviour that is unwelcome or offensive to that employee (whether or not that is conveyed to the employer or representative) and that, either by its nature or through repetition, has a detrimental effect on that employee's employment, job performance, or job satisfaction.

(2)   For the purposes of sections 103(1)(d) and 123(d), an employee is also sexually harassed in that employee's employment (whether by a co-employee or by a client or customer of the employer), if the circumstances described in section 117 have occurred.

Section 117 of the act basically covers the employer’s responsibilities in the event of an employee being harassed by someone other than the employer or the employer’s representative.  These matters are very sensitive and are often difficult for the complainant to detail. 

Wage Arrears – This is where an employer refuses to pay an employee all or part of income due to them.  There are a number of ways that this can occur. The most common is when an employment is terminated or a resignation occurs and outstanding holiday pay or final wages remains unpaid. 

Redundancies – Redundancies occur when a position is “no longer required”.  The employer must have a legitimate reason for making the redundancy and procedures for the handling of redundancies are quite clearly defined.  Many employment agreements provide for no payment in the event of redundancy, others remain mute on the subject. Independent advice is essential in the cases of redundancy or false redundancy.

Exit Packages - Sometimes an employment situation reaches the stage where it is simply in everybody’s interests that the two involved parties go their separate ways.  In these cases even the suggestion of an exit package can compromise either party’s rights further down the track if the suggestion is rejected by the other party.  An independent third party can often broker (mediate) an agreement between the two parties which suits both sides. Such agreements are drawn up and are legally binding on both parties.  They will often contain clauses which protect both parties from any further action and/or vindictive treatment in the future.

Please note that these definitions are intended as a guideline only and should not, under any circumstances, be considered as “legal advice”.  The individual nature of all employment related matters means that proper legal advice should be always be sought prior to any action being taken. Any uncertainty about whether or not a personal grievance exists can be addressed with our free consultation service. (home)

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