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2011 Publications

29 December 2011

While many of us go away over Christmas there will be significant anxiety on the part of those involved in the Pike River Mine tragedy. The explosion, the deaths of the 29 men, and the waiting period for recovery have all had an enormous impact on New Zealand. There are now three inquiries into what occurred; a Royal Commission of enquiry, a police investigation and a Labour Department inquiry.  In the old days before ACC came in, people who were injured or who died in tragic situations such as this could sue responsible parties for negligence.  More...

18 November 2011

Zac Guildford is capturing the attention of New Zealand because of his over-the-top behaviour in Rarotonga.  More...

31 October 2011

Readers will have seen the array of tattoos displayed by rugby players during the Rugby World Cup. There was no instruction for them to cover up in the way that Claire Haupini was asked to cover up her tattoo by her employer last year.  More...

8 October 2011

Springboks coach Peter De Villers has said that the haka is in danger of losing respect because it is performed too often. Can an employee be disciplined for performing a spontaneous haka?  More...

21 September 2011

The Rugby World Cup is a great, once-in-a-lifetime event for New Zealand. No-one can predict the journey the All Blacks will take, hopefully, into the finals. As we have seen before there is never any certainty in sport, particularly the Rugby World Cup. The Rugby World Cup will have its benefits, but from an employment perspective there are also challenges.  More...

30 July 2011

Rupert Murdoch and the News of the World scandal may have an impact on the way the free flow of information between people occurs. Rupert Murdoch claims that he did not know details of the illegal hacking that his organisation indulged in. Regardless, what has happened is likely to have far reaching consequences. The scandal has created something of a perfect storm which will likely see legislative change in many Western countries.  More...

11 July 2011

Alasdair Thompson has been sacked as the Chief Executive for the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association, according to newspaper reports.

Readers will have followed the controversy about Thompson with keen interest. He claimed that women are paid less than men because, at least in part, they take more sick leave than men. They do that because of their menstrual cycle, Mr Thompson said. More...

23 June 2011

What happens if you crash the company car? Who is responsible for the repairs? In a recent Employment Relations Authority case, the employee was found liable because he was negligent and had a duty of care and diligence. However, the dispute ended up costing both the parties an extraordinary amount of money.  More...

19 May 2011

The Christchurch earthquakes, the Auckland tornado and the Hawkes Bay floods are sharp reminders of the abrupt and extensive damage that natural disasters can cause to lives, homes and workplaces.

In an effort to deal with the situation of damaged workplaces and employees left without work as a result of natural disasters, there has been renewed talk of invoking an old doctrine called frustration of contract.  More...

30 April 2011

After a long solitary shift, the temptation to nod off can be great. The Employment Relations Authority recently found that an employer had a “reasonable belief” that an employee had been sleeping on the job and was justified in dismissing him. More..

5 April 2011

The Government’s new employment law package was implemented this month. Many employers have already modified their workplace policies and employment agreements to accommodate the changes.

One of the most significant changes is of course the ability of all employers to engage new employees under 90 day trial periods. Since the earlier introduction of the law to employers with under 20 employees, employers have realised that the law is not without its inherent risks. More...

26 March 2011

Can you resign and then say that you were fired? The answer is yes if you are “constructively dismissed”. Here an employee resigns and argues that they were really forced out or dismissed.  More...

16 March 2011

A case that captured the headlines in Britain contains lessons for employers in New Zealand.

Flooring company owner Simon Cremer took the law into own hands when he caught Mark Gilbert stealing from him. Mr Gilbert is variously described as an employee and as a sub-contractor in the various reports.

Mr Gilbert had written a company cheque for £845 (NZ$1853.10) to himself, forging his employer’s signature on the cheque. The employer found out and frog-marched Mark Gilbert to the local police station with a sign around his neck saying “thief – I stole £845, am on my way to the police station”.  More...

26 February 2011

Last year the Employment Relations Authority ruled on a dispute involving the New Zealand Customs Service and Douglas Alo. Mr Alo was employed by Customs for 22 years. His employment ended in July 2008 when he was dismissed from his position as Customs Liaisons Officer, South East Asia.  More...

24 February 2011

When the shock of Christchurch’s recent earthquake passes, both employers and employees will be looking at their futures. Staff will want to know whether they are going to be paid wages and employers will want to know how long they will have to pay workers who are not working.  More...

7 February 2011

Employment relationships are extremely personal, those that involve family members are even more personal and generally commence with a lot more trust than those with strangers. When family employment relationships go wrong the damage is likely to be much worse than in a normal employment relationship.  More...

Cullen - The Employment Law Firm is one of only eleven law firms in New Zealand approved to provide employment law services to Government and the public sector.

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