Avoid the ERA: PB Employment Law

I often warn clients about leaving a decision in the hands of Employment Relations Authority (ERA) because we have no control over the outcome.

Paul Brown, Specialist employer lawyer, PB Employment Law

To give one example, I acted for an employer defending a claim that an employee was forced to resign. Our defence was that there was some conflict in the workplace and tensions were rising all around.

We found an alternative role, and she worked in this role for a couple of weeks to make sure it suited her, and provided the employer could work around her childcare responsibilities (which they could) she thought it was a good option. We thought great, and she was offered an employment agreement to reflect the change in duties.
She then said she had no choice but to resign as the new employment agreement was the straw that broke
the camel’s back.

At the Authority I asked her to explain how being offered a new employment agreement amounts to a dismissal? Her exact reply: “Well I guess it doesn’t”.

I thanked her for her honesty and left it there, thinking there was no more to say and if I did say anymore it probably would not go well for me.

You can imagine our surprise months later when we finally got the decision, to find she was awarded around $25,000 for an unfair dismissal.

Moral of the story – avoid the Employment Relations Authority if at all possible.
I’m happy to email anybody who wants it, a copy of the decision.

If I can help you with employment law email me at paul@pblaw.nz.


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