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Employer Case Law

A weekly update on employment relations news and recently published legal decisions.
Our latest case law updates for members are available for download below. A summary of each week's file is provided. If you have any queries, would like more information or to request further historical updates, please contact us via hradvice@cecc.org.nz.
CaseLaw June 27
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Snapshot 27 June 2024:
  • Court orders employer to comply with consultation clause
  • Court increases remedies ordered to employee after challenging decision
  • Authority considers whether grievances were raised in time
  • Constructive dismissal and discrimination claims
  • Employee raises a personal grievance against a controlling third party
  • Eight legislative bills currently open for submissions
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CaseLaw June 21
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Snapshot 21 June 2024:
  • Huge compensation awarded for significant health and safety breaches
  • Employee unjustifiably disadvantaged by not receiving a written employment agreement
  • Authority upholds claim for unjustified dismissal
  • Abruptly dismissed employee wins personal grievance
  • Employee improperly dismissed after predetermined accusations
  • Five legislative bills currently open for submission
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CaseLaw June 14
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Snapshot 14 June 2024:
  • Employment Relations Authority:
    Employer takes justified actions in investigation
  • Redundancy found to be not genuine
  • Casual employee found to be permanent and unjustifiably dismissed
  • Employee not given written extension of fixed term agreement
  • Employee believes Employer was trying to trick them
  • Eight legislative bills currently open for submission
Download Full PDF
CaseLaw June 7
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Snapshot 7 June 2024:
  • Employment Relations Authority:
    Union breaches duty it owed to a member
  • Employer blackmails employee causing unjustified constructive dismissal
  • Recovering training costs from employee that resigned
  • Restructuring process found not to be genuine
  • Employee secretly monitored found to be unjustifiably disadvantaged
Download Full PDF
Case Law 31 May 2024
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Snapshot 31 May 2024:
  • Employee misuses company vehicle and resigns
  • Employer sends away employee by suggesting resignation
  • Employee holiday pay claims
  • Employer could not reasonably accommodate pilot over 65
  • Employee successfully argues for backpay
  • Union correctly gave notice to initiate bargaining on behalf of zero employees
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Case Law 24 May 2024
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Snapshot 24 May 2024:
  • Employer pressures employee to resign
  • Employer walks back WFH permission and rejects medical certificates
  • Employer denies assault he was convicted for
  • Employee creating workplace drama loses personal grievance
  • Union correctly gave notice to initiate bargaining on behalf of zero employees
  • Employer does not investigate allegation or listen to employee’s explanation
Download Full PDF
Case Law 17 May 2024
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Snapshot 17 May 2024:
  • Employment Court upholds Authority’s clause interpretation in favour of union
  • Employment Relations Authority:
    Large employer incorrectly runs medical incapacity process
  • Successful interim injunction of breach of restraint of trade clause
  • Was the employment agreement’s abandonment clause applied correctly?
  • Procedural shortcomings in terminating employee who got injured at work
Download Full PDF
Case Law 10 May 2024
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Snapshot 10 May 2024:
  • Employee’s arguable case allowed to continue
  • Court overturns Authority’s interpretation of payment clause
  • Employer Employee owed wages and holidays arrears as company goes into receivership
  • Did failure to act on bullying claims lead to a constructive dismissal?
  • Interim restriction on employee breaching restraint of trade
  • Authority enforces phrasing in employment agreement
Download Full PDF
Case Law 3 May 2024
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Snapshot 3 May 2024:
  • Employer wins constructive dismissal
  • Inadequate investigation leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Unilaterally changing the employment agreement leads to constructive dismissal
  • Personal grievance claim for unjustified action causing disadvantage upheld
  • Unresolved complaint leads to successful unjustified disadvantage
  • Company unjustifiably disadvantaged employee by not readily providing tools of the trade
Download Full PDF
Case Law 26 April 2024
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Snapshot 26 April 2024:
  • Employee’s role changed without consultation
  • Employee unjustifiably dismissed but did not have evidence for some pay claims
  • Dismissed co-founder wins at the Employment Relations Authority
  • Non-consultation during restructuring leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Employee did not raise grievance in time
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Case Law 19 April 2024
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Snapshot 19 April 2024:
  • Company penalised for breaching employment law requirements
  • Employer agreed to use Tikanga principles
  • Part-time employee compensated for minimum entitlements and $30,000 for harm
  • Unjustified dismissal during company liquidation
  • Availability provision is found to be illegal
Download Full PDF
Case Law 12 April 2024
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Snapshot 12 April 2024:
  • Successful appeal against interim reinstatement order
  • Employee found to be a permanent worker
  • Employee unjustifiably dismissed
  • Penalty for breaches of employment standards
  • Employee unjustifiably constructively dismissed
  • Personal grievance successfully raised within 90 days
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Case Law 5 April 2024
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Snapshot 5 April 2024:
  • Tax rate change for backdated lump sum payments
  • Consultation opens proposing more time to comply with plumbing products changes under the Building Code
  • Government continues to deliver for New Zealand
  • Secondary teachers moving to New Zealand fast tracked to residence
  • New tools strengthen immigration law enforcement
  • New Zealand “open for business” for Build To Rent
Download Full PDF
Case Law 28 March 2024
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Snapshot 28 March 2024:
  • Employment Court decides sufficient information was provided for transferring employees
  • Uncommunicative and unresponsive employer taken to Employment Relations Authority
  • Authority finds in favour of employer regarding employee benefit
  • Absence of an individual employment agreement dismissal
  • Faulty investigation of serious allegations leads to unjustified dismissal
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Case Law 22 March 2024
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Snapshot 22 March 2024:
  • Due process required to terminate employment of person intending to work
  • Employees must agree to without-prejudice conversations with full understanding
  • A disingenuous redundancy created unjustified dismissal
  • Au pair found to be employee
  • Termination under invalid trial period provision leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Employer breached several employment standards but did not constructively dismiss employee
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Case Law 15 March 2024
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Snapshot 15 March 2024:
  • Claim for unpaid final pay successful
  • Personal grievances established for unjustified dismissal and sexual harassment
  • Multiple breaches result in employer being personally liable
  • Manager and director of company found to be jointly liable in grievance proceedings
  • Employee wins personal grievance for constructive dismissal
  • Authority upholds claim for unjustified dismissal
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Case Law 8 March 2024
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Snapshot 8 March 2024:
  • Constructive dismissal after employer failed to pay wages
  • Employment Relations Authority considers whether employer undermined a collective agreement
  • Employee resigned without constructive dismissal or reasonable foreseeability
  • Employee dismissed for failing to declare criminal history
  •  Employee’s claim for unjustified dismissal upheld.
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Case Law 1 March 2024
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Snapshot 1 March 2024:
  • Court overturns Authority limiting long service leave clause based on “business common sense”
  • Authority orders back pay of pay rise to be applied to union member
  • Employment Relations Authority: Breaches of employment agreement result in substantial penalties
  • Dismissal of employee who acted in self-defence held to be substantially justified
  • Employer found to be fair and reasonable throughout employee’s employment
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Case Law 23 February 2024
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Snapshot 23 February 2024:
  • Employee claimed medical retirement was inappropriate
  • Suspended employee unjustifiably dismissed and disadvantaged
  • Authority confirms paid parental leave is to be paid in one continuous period per person
  • Interim reinstatement of 3                    employee deemed inequitable
  • Complete lack of process leads to successful unjustified dismissal claim
  • Authority upholds claim for commission back pay    
Download Full PDF
Case Law 16 February 2024
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Snapshot 16 February 2024:
  • Invalid trial period leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Non-compliant availability clause causes unjustified disadvantage
  • Candidate’s progression to pre employment check was not an offer of employment
  • Justified termination of employment
  • Breach of good faith leads to unjustified constructive dismissal
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Case Law 9 February 2024
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Snapshot 9 February 2024:
  • The Authority erred in finding employee was entitled to receive parental leave payments
  • Employment Court upholds unjustified dismissal ruling of the Authority
  • Reliance on invalid trial period leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Unjustified dismissal claim successful but unsuccessful unjustified disadvantage
  • Trial period not valid     
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Case Law 2 February 2024
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Snapshot 2 February 2024:
  • Employment Court overturns Authority on matter of agreement
  • Flawed investigation leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Employee's interpretation of when notice period ended successful
  • Employer followed due processes when issuing a warning to employee
  • Employer did  not give employee opportunity for feedback and conducted unfair dismissal
  • Employee on a working visa unjustifiably dismissed
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Case Law 26 January 2024
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Snapshot 26 January 2024:
  • Employment Court sets aside the Authority's judgement
  • Company successfully withdrew offer of employment
  • Court increases compensation to employee after employer challenged the Authority's ruling
  • Employee dismissed on a group chat raised personal grievance
  • Constructive dismissal claim successful following transfer of shares
  • Successful unjustified disadvantage claims due to unilateral change to employment agreement
Download Full PDF
Case Law 19 January 2024
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Snapshot 19 January 2024:
  • Court found actual loss of wages to be 6 months' worth
  • Employment Court affirms unjustifiable dismissal for no consultation during restructure
  • Employment court upholds decision of the Employment Relations Authority
  • Parent company found not to be a controlling third party
  • Unsuccessful claim by employee claiming constructive dismissal
  • Employee did not have a reasonable opportunity to respond
Download Full PDF
Case Law 12 January 2024
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Snapshot 12 January 2024:
  • Dismissal of uncommunicative employee found to be fair and reasonable
  • Failure to honour commitment to repay debt proves costly
  • Assumption of an employee’s resignation leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Dismissal following a failed drug test found to be procedurally unfair
  • Personal relationship problems blur employment relationship, resulting in disadvantage
  • Claim upheld for unjustified dismissal   
Download Full PDF
Case Law 15 December 2024
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Snapshot 15 December 2024:
  • Deductions made from final pay without consent deemed unlawful
  • Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy led to unjustified dismissal and compensation payout
  • Employee proved not to be independent contractor
  • Failure to honour commitment to repay debt proves costly
Download Full PDF
Case Law 8 December 2024
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Snapshot 8 December 2024:
  • Breach of record of settlement leads to financial penalty
  • Unsuccessful constructive dismissal claim
  • Employer addressing anonymous complaints found to have created some disadvantage
  • Invalid trial period leads to unjustified dismissal
  • Employee without an agreement raised a personal grievance
Download Full PDF
Case Law 1 December 2024
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Snapshot 1 December 2024:
  • Record of Settlement held to be binding despite party's refusal to sign
  • Committee Care worker found to be employee
  • Personal grievance raised out of 90-day time frame did not have exceptional circumstances
  • Employee unjustifiably summarily dismissed for sending an ambiguous email to customer
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Case Law 24 November 2023
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Snapshot 24 November 2023:
  • Employment Court upholds determination of unjustified dismissal
  • Employee found to be unjustifiably dismissed in flawed redundancy process
  • Committee of Management did not consider a proposal or alternatives before redundancy
  • Unsuccessful personal grievance claims
  • Validity of Record of Settlement
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Case Law 17 November 2023
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Snapshot 17 November 2023:
  • Process to change employee to contractor deemed procedurally flawed
  • Deductions required consulting and employee experienced disadvantage from treatment
  • Unjustified dismissal and wage arrears claims of the employees upheld by the Authority
  • Improper investigation leads to successful unjustified dismissal and disadvantage claims
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Case Law 10 November 2023
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Snapshot 10 November 2023:
  • Recommendation made for payment to former employee
  • Claim for unjustified constructive dismissal upheld
  • Flawed redundancy process leads to upholding of unjustified dismissal claim
  • Breach of Employment Agreement leads to payout for Employee for Hurt and Humiliation
  • Procedural flaw leads to established claim for unjustified dismissal
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Case Law 27 October 2023
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Snapshot 27 October 2023:
  • Application for interim reinstatement failed
  • Outcome of breach of contract claim
  • Claim for unjustified disadvantage found to be lodged within statutory timeframe
  • Personal grievance raised successfully considering the totality of communications by employee
  • An employer's failure to discuss changes disadvantaged employee
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Case Law 20 October 2023
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Snapshot 20 October 2023:
  • Employment Court declines claim to overturn decision of the Authority
  • Successful claim for leave payments and penalties for not paying employee leave
  • Personal grievances found not to be vexatious or frivolous
  • Decision to terminate employment found to be procedurally sound
  • Employer and director breached minimum employment standards and failed to provide records
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CaseLaw June
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Snapshot 7 June 2024:
  • Employment Relations Authority:
    Union breaches duty it owed to a member
  • Employer blackmails employee causing unjustified constructive dismissal
  • Recovering training costs from employee that resigned
  • Restructuring process found not to be genuine
  • Employee secretly monitored found to be unjustifiably disadvantaged
Download Full PDF