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2016 Publications

21 December 2016

 Pike River families have protested at the closed coal mine and at Parliament. They want professionals to re-enter the mine to retrieve the remains of their deceased loved ones.

What are the merits of their plea and what impact may health and safety laws have had on the decision not to re-enter?  More ...

7 December 2016

In Iceland, women have symbolically stopped working at 2:38 pm, the time during a standard 8 hour day at which Icelandic women say they begin to work for free because of pay inequality. In France, women, along with many men, stopped work to protest at 4:34 pm on 7 November, as for the rest of the year women say they are volunteers.

Our newly appointed Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy recently chaired the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles.  More ...

23 November 2016

Many people, particularly minorities and women, may feel under attack following recent world events.

United States President-elect Donald Trump has recently shown onlookers that repeated sexist comments will not preclude an individual from taking the Oval Office. More ...

9 November 2016

Worldwide the ride-sharing company Uber seems to be getting caught up in wide ranging legal battles, from transport regulations to employment law.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has gone to war with Uber in New Zealand.

It says Uber allows its drivers to operate without the requisite passenger endorsement on their license.

Numerous infringement notices have been issued. Drivers face potential fines of $10,000 for operating without the endorsement in question.  More ...

26 October 2016

Last week 3,000 junior doctors went on strike complaining that the hours they work create an unsafe working environment. Non-urgent services were cancelled and the public were urged to visit their GPs rather than the hospital emergency departments. Other medical staff had to provide essential services.

The New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association has been an active union for many years. Some years ago they successfully campaigned for pay rises for junior doctors because of the low returns they received for long hours worked. Now they are campaigning to reduce those long hours. The issue that district health boards are likely to be facing is if junior doctors reduce their time without a reduction in pay, it could be costly to hire the extra staff needed and difficult to recruit them.

The strike raises two important issues. More ...

12 October 2016

With the possible exception of an All Black’s toilet malpractice, no news story of the last couple of weeks has been bigger in New Zealand than the defamation case taken by Jordan Williams against Colin Craig.

For four weeks we have been reading about the colourful details of the relationship between Craig and his former Press Secretary Rachael McGregor, who featured extensively in the High Court trial in Auckland as well as many other well-known New Zealanders.  More ...

28 September 2016

Are we over-watched and over-listened to by those who govern us or employ us?

Wellington City Council now operates closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the central city which is monitored by volunteers and the police.

CCTV operates in many buildings in Wellington, including hospitals supermarket and malls.   More ...

14 September 2016

 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations in our country. Volunteering is often admirable, but when does the use of volunteers cross the line between valid engagement and unacceptable exploitation?

When is a person a volunteer and when are they in reality an employee?  More ...

31 August 2016

A US court held that forcing a funeral home to allow a male transgender worker to wear women's clothing would restrict the employer's religious beliefs.

The recent dismissal of a transgendered employee by her religious employers has caused some controversy in the United States.This raises the question of where the balance should lie between religious freedom and protection from discrimination. More...

17 August 2016

Where an employee has done wrong, and it is sufficiently serious, readers would probably likely agree that an employer should be able to dismiss.

However, it is hard not to sympathise with an employee when they have been dismissed for medical reasons. More... 

3 August 2016

The world has been transfixed by firstly, the Republican, and secondly, the Democratic, conventions in the United States.

Both have been overflowing with drama and controversy. Senator Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump for president. That certainly caused uproar. And then Melania Trump gave a speech to the Republican convention that in parts appeared to follow almost word for word an address given in 2008 by the current first lady Michelle Obama. More...

28 July 2016

Hastings recounted that when he was editor of The Daily Telegraph, he received a tape of a conversation between convicted fraudster Darius Guppy and Johnson, where Guppy asked Johnson to obtain the address of a journalist so Guppy could give the man "a hiding". Hastings said that "Johnson did not demur".

Hastings claimed that they called Johnson back from Brussels and asked him to explain himself. More...

6 July 2016

Most readers will know that on 4 April 2016 the Health and Safety at Work Act came into force in New Zealand. New obligations, new offences and much higher penalties are all part of the package in this new scheme intended to protect people from harm.

What you may not be ready for is a WorkSafe investigation at your place of employment. More...

22 June 2016

Our news lately has been dominated by tragic killings. When the reports follow, we often find that a common theme has been the issue of human rights, and the place of migrants in our society.

Recently Jo Cox, a Labour MP from West Yorkshire, was shot at point-blank range and stabbed while she was on her way to meet with her constituents. Jo Cox had been campaigning for Britain to remain part of the European Union. More...

8 June 2016

Most employees are overwhelmingly loyal, objective and trustworthy and do not leak information. When employees discover questionable conduct, which they think is wrong or even illegal, what should they do? More...

25 May 2016

Nicola Thorpe was employed as a temp worker by PWC's London office in reception. When she arrived on her first day, she was told she had to wear shoes with a 5cm to 13cm heel as a matter of policy. Thorpe refused arguing that the demand was discriminatory. She was sent home without pay after refusing to buy a pair of heels. More...

11 May 2016

Aggrieved workers often complain about being overworked and "burnt out". Workers also complain, although less often, of "being sent to coventry", of having no work or trivial work. More...

27 April 2016

Readers may have read about Federal Express and its sleepy loader.

This month reports emerged that a member of their ground crew was loading a flight at Memphis International airport in the United States. Incredibly, he fell asleep while loading cargo and ended up being carried almost 1200 km to Texas. More...

13 April 2016

Readers will have seen the widespread publicity given to the Ministry of Justice restructuring. This is one of a number of public sector restructures that are underway.

What is significant about the Justice Ministry's restructure is that collection registry officers will no longer work from the ministry's premises. Instead they will be asked to work from their home. More....

30 March 2016

Internationally respected Wellington film director, Sir Peter Jackson, resigned as a director of Weta Workshop as a result of the government's new health and safety legislation. Jackson was concerned that the new law would require him to be more involved on a daily basis, or risk liability under the new Act. He therefore decided to resign. With the incoming Health and Safety laws the age of the 'sleeping director' is truly at an end. More...

16 March 2016

University professor Nicholas Goddard had two jobs. At night, the 61-year-old starred as "Old Nick" in a number of pornographic films. By day, he worked as an experienced chemical engineer and academic at the University of Manchester. When not in class, the professor cavorted with women 40 years his junior at times wearing nothing more than a gold watch. More...

17 February 2016

High emotion in the workplace may lead people to communicate in a way they do not intend, often with sad results.  Employment relationships are emotional and personal and rely on effective communication to succeed.  More...

2 February 2016

Readers using computers at work will all be interested in a recent decision from a far corner of the Earth. Bogdan Barbulescu from Romania took a case to the European Court of Human Rights due to his employer accessing his Yahoo Messenger account.  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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