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Employment Law

I am an employee and I have been called to a disciplinary meeting. What can I do?


First golden rule.  Don't resign. 

Should you be thinking about doing this then call us for a free chat first so you can make an informed decision.


Second Golden Rule.  There are no exceptions to the first golden rule

I can't stress enough how important it is not to resign.  If you do resign you will be giving up about 90% of your employment rights and the chances of us getting a good outcome for you are highly reduced.  If you have already resigned then call us immediately on 0800 HELP ME 0800 435 763 as there may be a way to un-resign yourself. 

Third Golden Rule.  You have rights protected by New Zealand Employment law.

You have certain rights under New Zealand law with regards to disciplinary meetings. These basic rights are: you are entitled to bring a support person with you, you need to be given reasonable notice of the meeting, you must be advised what the agenda for the meeting is and the likely consequences of the meeting. Most employers, but definitely not all of them, will follow the correct process as per the Employment Relations Act.


The disciplinary meeting is an investigation into an alleged incident whereby the employer is giving you the opportunity to explain your version of events in order for you to defend yourself against such allegations. Once the meeting is at an end, the employer will consider what you expressed and they will make their decision. This is usually then communicated to the employee at a subsequent meeting.


There are decisions you can make at the meeting. These will vary depending on your particular circumstances but, in general, there are two main options. The first is that you will try and amend your ways so that your employer benefits from you remaining in their employment. The other is that you decide that you no longer want to work there, for what ever reason. Should you wish to continue your employment, then you will need to discuss and agree on an action plan with your employer, in good faith, when they give you their decision at a subsequent meeting (provided, of course, that their decision is not to terminate your employment). Should they terminate your employment, then you do have legal rights depending on the circumstances.


Should you decide that you do not want to continue working for the employer, during the disciplinary meeting, then you have various options. You can attempt to agree on an exit package that will result in a written agreement for you and the employer to sign. The employer will probably want to send this off to the Department of Labour for stamping which makes that agreement full and final. In other words, once the agreement is stamped, you can not lodge a personal grievance with the Employment Relations Authority. Should you not be able to come to an agreement, then you can simply resign and then possibly go to the Employment Relation Authority to lodge a personal grievance claim against your employer, if you think it is justified.


We are a solutions focused organisation. Yes, the past does come into it, however, we are future focused as that is what counts. What is the best result moving forward for all concerned? This is where we will help you. Our aim is to help you negotiate a solution that gives a clear path forward. By doing this, we save everyone time and the possible costs of going to the Employment Relations Authority. Employers look at the total cost of all the components when trying to resolve an employment situation. The less they have to spend on their lawyers, their own time, and the Employment Relations Authority, the more they are likely to pay to settle or resolve the situation with you or, what they are prepared to pay for further training.


We can help you at these meeting as your support person by protecting your rights as an employee and possibly maximising your position. Please call us on 0800 HELP ME (0800 435 763) to discuss the details or email us employment@mediate.co.nz.


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