Can I run my own personal grievance process without having to pay someone to represent me?
In a word, yes. However, like baking a cake, if you make a mistake with the ingredients or you don't do the tasks in the right order, the end result can be somewhat disappointing.
The first major hurdle people face is the legal notification to the employer of all the issues, within the 90 day time limit. You need to know what you are legally entitled to and then you need to notify the employer of this within the prescribed time. Authority members (Judges) have knocked back aspects of personal grievance claims due to the employer's representative stating that these aspects were not raised within the 90 days and, therefore, cannot be ruled upon. The end result is that you can potentially miss out on what you were entitled to receive.
The authority member (Judge) is there to be a neutral person. They do not take sides. They will not assist you with your claim; all they will do is answer the questions put to them by you, in your statement of problem, and then make a ruling based on those questions.
A secondary problem, that reduces the payout available to employees, is not asking for all the remedies that they are entitled to. It's similar to, for instance, going to a holiday park that has a swim centre next door and not realising that, if you showed your room key, you receive free entry. You needed that information prior to paying the pool entry fee.
The third area, that is not known by most employees, is the applicable penalty for breaches of certain parts of New Zealand Employment Laws and / or the employment agreement, and who can be the recipient of such penalties.
The final part, that is commonly overlooked by employees and even some employment advocates / lawyers, is the joining of other parties to your case who are indirectly involved.
Of course, not all employment problems end up at the Authority for a decision. A large proportion of them are resolved with direct negotiation between the parties and an even larger portion are resolved at the MBIE's mediation service. See our page on How to negotiate at a MBIE Mediation.
Don't get caught in the false economy of saving on representation fees. It could very well cost you in the long run. Want to know more? Call Danny for an obligation free chat on 0800 HELP ME (0800 435 763) or email me.