Personal Grievance Process
What is the process of taking a Personal Grievance through New Zealand's legal landscape?
Assuming that you have been terminated, you believe you have a valid personal grievance, you have notified your former employer in writing within 90 days of the event or, it has not been 90 days since the event, then the steps we recommend are:
Writing to your former employer
This letter at a minimum needs to state:
- that you have a personal grievance with your former employer
- what has happened that has caused you to feel personally aggrieved
- what your former employer did that was wrong and in breach of New Zealand employment law
- what remedies you are seeking to resolve your personal grievance.
It is important to get the remedies right as you don't want to sell yourself short. It is also a good idea to invite your former employer to enter into direct negotiations to settle your personal grievance and to inform them that, should they not want to do this, then the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment mediation service and the Employment Relations Authority are other options that you have. If you feel confident, then you can write this letter yourself or we can do it for you. Should they not want to negotiate directly with you or you can't reach agreement, then the next step is:
Mediation with the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment
This is a free service that is provided by the Ministry. Your only costs are usually the fee your advocate will charge you. About 85% of matters taken to mediation result in a settlement. Should your matter not settle at mediation, then you can make an:
Application to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA)
Applying to the ERA is now a court process. They investigate the matter by taking evidence from both sides who present legal arguments as to the merits of their position. The approximate cost to the employer to go through this process is $5,000 - $10,000, depending on how complex the situation is. The Authority will then deliver the decision which is binding on everyone, except if:
Either side challenges the ERA decision with the Employment Court (EC)
Should a party believe that the ERA has got it wrong, they can challenge the decision in the Employment Court. This will cost both sides many thousands of dollars.
Either side challenges the EC decision with the Court of Appeal (CoA).
Should a party believe that the EC has got it wrong, they can challenge the decision in the Court of Appeal. This will cost both sides tens of thousands.
Either side challenges the CoA decision with the Supreme Court.
Should a party believe that the CoA has got it wrong, they can challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. If you have to ask how much this will cost then there is a pretty good chance that you can't afford it. The outcome of this court is final and cannot be challenged in anyway.