Personal Grievance Process
We are often asked 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 needs to state that you have a personal grievance with them. We also recommend that you state the reasons why you believe the personal grievance exists, what your former employer did that was wrong and in breach of New Zealand employment law, along with the remedies that you are seeking. 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 Department of Labour mediation 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 (MBIE)
This is a free service that is provided by MBIE. Your only costs are usually the fee your advocate will charge you for their time. About 80% of matters taken to MBIE 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 will present legal arguments as to the merits of their position. The approximate cost to the employer to go through this process is $4,000 - $5,000. 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 the ERA has got it wrong, they can challenge the decision in the Employment Court. This will cost them many thousands to do and will cost the other side many thousands to defend.
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 them many more thousands to do and will cost the other side many more thousands to defend.
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. This will cost them many more thousands to do and will cost the other side many more thousands to defend. The outcome of this court is final and is not challengeable in anyway.