After your initial telephone interview and once we have established that there is a case to go forward, we will discuss the approach we will adopt in your particular situation. We will also discuss your expectations in the matter which may include seeking reinstatement of your position. Once this has been completed, we will make contact with your employer by the means decided.
If the employer prefers to go to mediation rather than to attempt to settle directly, we will prepare all submissions required for this which include a request for mediation assistance and the supply of all details, communications and documents relating to the matter. The mediation is usually held in the area in which the employment took place.
The main city centres (Auckland, Wellington etc.) have a central location but other areas, especially the distant locations, use local venues. The time it takes to obtain a date for mediation will often be determined by the area you live in. We can discuss this. Please note that mediations in other than central locations can incur a cost of travel. This will be discussed with you as a separate issue and may require an additional agreement. No travel costs will be imposed without your express agreement which will be indicated through the signing of form DRS027.
Once a date has been set, we will attend mediation with you and handle all aspects of the presentation of your case including a summary in law. Most cases (around 90%) are settled at mediation but obviously there are some exceptions.
If your case is settled either directly or at mediation, we, or the mediator will draw up a “full and final’ settlement agreement and this will be signed off on the day. A mediated settlement will usually provide for payment to be made within 7 - 14 days. Payment is generally made directly to you although the cost aspect is often negotiated to be paid to us on invoice.
If your case is not settled at mediation, we will perform a “risk assessment” of your situation and decide if it is appropriate to take further action.
If your employer refuses to attend mediation in the first instance or if mediation is unsuccessful, then we will make application to The Employment Relations Authority. This requires the submission of a Statement of Problem and requires the collation of case details, communications and all documentation relating to your case. There is also a $71.56 fee required to lodge this and you will be required to provide this.
There is a legal requirement that, before the Employment Relations Authority will hear any matter, there must have been an attempt by the parties to have settled their differences by way of mediation. While there are some very rare exceptions, the Authority will ordermediation in the first instance (refer MEDIATION above)
Please note: If an order to mediation is issued by the Employment Relations Authority following an application and that mediation fails there is no requirement for a second application in order to move on to an Authority investigation.
The Employment Relations Authority will hold a telephone conference with the representatives of both sides and a timeline will be decided. This will include a date for the investigation meeting as well as dates for the final submission of documentation. Documents include your “witness statement”, “witness statements” of all witnesses and legal submissions.
Some cases may require the summonsing of witnesses as well. As with mediation we will represent you on the day and will take care of the presentation of your case. The Authority Member who handles the case will make a decision on your case. This is called a determination and may take from two weeks to two months to deliver. There are rights of appeal.
Although most agreements provide for payment to be made within 7 or 14 days of the registration date of the settlement, there are exceptions to this, particularly if the employer is financially unable to pay in one lump sum. In these cases, it can be arranged for the employer to “pay off” the amount. Payment is generally made directly to you.