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2017 Publications

15 November 2017

The nation is watching the Beehive, waiting to see what changes will emerge. It has been an exciting start for the new Government. Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, was shakily elected and Winston Peters served writs on National Party leadership before leaving for an overseas trip as Foreign Minister.  It seems that significant change is afoot in New Zealand. But what about employment law? What is going to change there?  More ...

1 November 2017

Two recent employment cases have given cause for concern about the respect some employers are giving to our courts.

In the case of Enayet Uddin, his employer openly expressed contempt for the "employment authorities". Uddin was employed by HD Security Services in Auckland as a security officer.

It was clear there would be trouble following a series of bizarre actions by his employer.

On commencing employment, Uddin was required to pay his employer $250 for his uniform, but never received it.  More ...

18 October 2017

Inland Revenue is carrying out a massive multi-year "Business Transformation" project which will affect about 3500 employees and result in about 1500 being made redundant.

Christchurch City Council is also carrying out a large restructure due to the re-opening of facilities that have been closed since the Christchurch earthquake.

What these restructures have in common is that the employer plans to use psychometric testing to work out who should be kept on. In the case of Inland Revenue, hundreds of existing employees were asked to undergo psychometric and personality testing, with their jobs on the line.  More ...

6 September 2017

Spring has finally arrived and the countdown is on to the first day of summer when many Kiwis will gather around BBQs in backyards, beverages in hand.

While this is a classic Kiwi experience, people will hopefully be aware that alcohol and the workplace can be an explosive mix.

An engineering firm in Chicago recently had one of their employees, a Mr Makropoulos, arrive at work highly intoxicated. He was told he could not work his shift because he was so impaired.  More ...

23 August 2017

The Chief Executive of one of Australia's biggest accounting associations has been sacked by the board and given a A$4.9 million (NZ$5.3m) pay-out. CEO Alex Malley, faced extended lobbying to disclose his salary to the members of Certified Practising Accountants of Australia (CPA) for some time.

CPA Australia ultimately disclosed Malley's total remuneration to be A$1.8 million a year. The campaign for disclosure was harmful for CPA. In addition to Malley's sacking, the fallout led seven board members to resign within two weeks of each other. More ...

9 August 2017

The election of 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern to the leadership of the Labour Party has captured the headlines across New Zealand.

Mark Richardson, on the AM Show, asked her about her plans to have children, arguing that an employer had the right to know this information from potential female employees.

Accordingly, voters should have the right to know about her plans to have children when preparing to cast their vote in the upcoming general election.   More ...

26 July 2017

An employee, Madalyn Parker, recently sent her chief executive an email saying that she was taking a couple of days off work to focus on her mental health.

Parker said that hopefully she would be back the next week, refreshed and back to 100 per cent.  More ...

12 July 2017

Sonny Bill Williams' red card for a no-arms shoulder charge on Lions wing Anthony Watson has gathered significant attention.

Players who are sent off the field must appear before the rugby judiciary for disciplinary action to be determined. But could Sonny Bill, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) as the employer, Steve Tew the chief executive, or other players in test rugby face legal liability for injuring someone in the course of their duties as a rugby player?  More ...

28 June 2017

Do employers have the right to know about employees' criminal charges? The Supreme Court has found that an employer often will have the right to know, even if there is a suppression order.

"X" was employed by the University of Otago as a campus security guard. While employed, he faced charges of willful damage and assaulting his wife. X pleaded guilty but the judge discharged him without conviction on both charges because it was "extremely likely" he would otherwise lose his job. The judge also made a suppression order prohibiting publication of X's name or identification. More ...

14 June 2017

A man who was dismissed through a text message has won his case for unjustified dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority. But despite being wrongfully dismissed, he did not receive any money.  More ...

31 May 2017

It has been reported that Auckland real estate salesperson, Samuel Clough, has lost his job after pleading guilty to methamphetamine charges. While perhaps unsurprising, it does beg the question as to what extent an employer can discipline its employee for conduct away from work.  
More ...

17 May 2017

It is a reality of life that people get sick.

Sometimes, the illness can take someone out of action for an extended period of time.

This is certainly difficult for the person concerned, but will also often cause difficulties for their employer.

While the majority of employers will want to support their employee as far as they can, they will also need to protect the business.  More ...

3 May 2017

Two Bills currently before Parliament are set to make significant changes to the face of employment law.

One is intended to help victims of domestic violence in their employment. The other aims to allow employers to, through contract, remove the right of highly paid employees to bring personal grievances.  More ...

19 April 2017

One very recent development is that several companies have started microchipping their employees.

While this futuristic development has real benefits, it's a case of the good news and the bad news, like most things in life.

Swedish start-up hub Epicenter began implanting workers in January 2015 and now about 150 workers are microchipped.  More ...

5 April 2017

Addiction is a silent and sometimes deadly disorder.

A significant section of the populace struggles with some form of addiction, and almost everyone is affected by it in one way or another.  More ...

22 March 2017

Huge damage has been caused to governments and private organisations by employees or contractors downloading or stealing information, often top secret.

KGB spy Kim Philby copied a considerable amount of the British Government's secret intelligence in the 1960s but it was nothing compared to what he could do today.  More ...

8 March 2017

 World famous jewellery brand Tiffany & Co is being sued for allegedly discriminating against an employee on medical grounds.  More ...

22 February 2017

The generation of baby boomers are now reaching retirement age in huge numbers, increasing interest in ageism and age discrimination cases.

There has been an extraordinary development in the United Kingdom. Over 200 UK judges joined together and brought a claim against the Ministry of Justice for unlawful age, race, and sex discrimination and for equal pay.  More ...

8 February 2017

On January 27 new United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order entitled: "Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States". The order restricts entry into the US for 90 days for individuals from seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and halts Syrian refugee resettlement entirely. Even individuals with green cards who are originally from the listed countries are being denied entry to the US.

In the US, as in New Zealand, the attorney general has an important constitutional role. The then US acting attorney general, Sally Yates issued a directive to Justice Department lawyers not to present arguments in defence of the executive order because she doubted its legality.  More ...

25 January 2017

How often do you check your mobile phone for work related emails?

When you are waiting at the doctors or for a bus? During an ad break on television? When a meal is cooking? Before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning when you wake up?

Personal reflection and discussion with friends would suggest that for most people the time is significant and the occasions are many. But reflect a moment on my question. I think you will be surprised by the conclusions you reach.  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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