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2012 Publications

18 December 2012

Freedom of expression is a core value of our democratic society. We value it not only in our law, but also in our dealings with each other. But what happens when an employee's right to express themselves conflicts with their employer's right to not be brought into disrepute and to have trust and confidence in their employee?  More...

4 December 2012

It seems the dismissal of a school principal sets the scene for a dispute on a grand scale.  The recent dismissal and subsequent interim reinstatement of Christchurch Girls' High School principal Prue Taylor has received considerable media attention of late.  More...

20 November 2012

David Petraeus resigned from his position as director of the Central Intelligence Agency recently.  The influential military man had formerly served as a four-star general and a key strategic thinker behind the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We are told he offered his resignation to President Barack Obama who reluctantly accepted it.  Petraeus is a married man. The resignation came about because he was having an affair with his biographer.  Could David Petraeus have been dismissed from a similar position in New Zealand for the same conduct?  More...

6 November 2012

Readers would have been surprised by the front page story in the Dominion Post a week ago. Cazna Waaka was a bus driver for City Line NZ Limited, trading as Valley Flyer. At a Hearing before the Employment Relations Authority, Ms Waaka said that she told her Regional Operations Manager during an altercation that she had with her that she was “a f..... bitch” and, further as the altercation proceeded, that “you can stick your job up you f.... ar...”. More than enough by way of insulting comments to lead to Ms Waaka’s dismissal readers might think. More...

23 October 2012

Few readers will recognise the name Paolo Gabriele, but they might know him as the Pope's ex-butler. Gabriele copied the Pope's private papers and provided them to a journalist who in due course published them. He claimed he was motivated by a desire to root out "corruption and evil" which he alleged was at the heart of the Catholic Church, but ultimately Gabriele's actions led to his dismissal.  More...

9 October 2012

The debacle involving Kim Dotcom and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will shake public confidence in the security services.

We are essentially told to trust organisations such as the GCSB and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), both of which have extensive but intrusive powers to protect us from harm. We are told not ask too many questions. The Courts have little oversight of interceptions by the GCSB.

What has slowly been unveiled in the Dotcom saga has eroded public confidence. People will now be wanting to know a lot more about the GCSB and what it does. There are also serious employment issues involved.  More...

12 September 2012

Sir Graham Henry added extra excitement to the Rugby Championship when he kitted up in an Argentinian uniform and linked arms with the passionate Pumas in Lower Hutt last week. Henry’s recent appointment as technical adviser to the Blues led to the termination of his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union. This freed him to provide coaching assistance to the Pumas against the All Blacks. This change caused much gnashing of teeth last week, with the fear that all of the All Blacks’ secrets will be laid bare before the Pumas.  More...

13 June 2012

New Zealanders can be proud that our country has led the world in championing women's rights. In 1873 New Zealand passed the Employment of Females Act, which regulated the working conditions for women in workrooms and factories, forbidding night work and limiting work to eight hours a day. In 1893 we became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. By 2001 we could boast that the positions of governor-general, prime minister, leader of the opposition, chief justice, and chief executive officer of our largest company were all held by women. 

Things have not stayed this way. Today only the position of chief justice is still held by a woman. A recent Grant Thornton survey reveals that only 5 per cent of CEO roles are held by women, and 65 per cent of companies do not even have women on their boards. So how far have we really come? More...

14 May 2012

We all wonder how our lives would be different if we won Lotto. But what if instead of Lotto our employer overpaid us and then did nothing about it? This is the problem Clint Foai faced when he was overpaid more than $70,000 by Air New Zealand over a 16 month period.  More...

18 April 2012

There have been recent reports from the United States regarding employers asking potential and sometimes current employees for their Facebook login information. With this login information, an employer can view all of an applicant's photos, conversations and messages as well as other personal information. Potential employers are asking for access to all that is on Facebook including private information that even Facebook friends cannot see.  More...

31 March 2012

The Ports of Auckland dispute still has a long way to run. It is almost certain to create a lot more litigation and no doubt some new law.  More...

5 March 2012

We will never forget the tragedy of the Pike River Mine disaster. Among other things it is a terrible reminder of what can happen in inherently dangerous workplaces. Two mines have subsequently been shut down.  Readers will be interested in the obligations employers have to protect the safety of their workers, and in the general legislative protections that exist to keep workers from danger.  More...

3 March 2012

So you're thinking of  taking a personal grievance?  Then think very carefully. It makes no difference whether you win or lose, prospective employers are likely to hold it against you, says employment lawyer Peter Cullen. And the more senior you are, the longer the black mark will stick.  More...

16 January 2012

National was elected with a strong mandate to lead the next government. The National party’s proposed changes in the employment law area are modest. 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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