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Newsletter Articles 2013

19 December 2013

Another year gone by - just like that. Very soon, we’ll be into 2014 which will bring another spate of changes to the employment law landscape. Here’s a quick run down on what to expect.  More...

29 November 2013

It’ll soon be five years since the National Government first rolled out their controversial 90-day trial period policy. In that time, trial periods have attracted their fair share of litigation as many employers have fallen afoul of the Courts for trying to use them inappropriately.

A recent case concerning a manager at a furniture store serves as yet another cautionary tale for employers employing people on trial periods. More...

24 August 2013

It is a well-founded principle of criminal law that someone cannot be tried twice for the same crime. But how does this fly in an employment context? A recent case involving the dismissal a Pacific Blue employee with a fondness for ‘high’, times delves into this murky question.

The Facts

B, whose identity has been suppressed, was a Pilot with Pacific Blue. Over a somewhat turbulent 16 month period of employment, he was involved in a number of incidents which attracted the attention of his employer for the wrong reasons.

In January 2009 B and a number of crew members got a little too rowdy at a hotel bar in Potts Point, Australia. Pacific Blue found out about the incident but due to a lack of evidence, the matter was not advanced beyond the initial stages. A number of other incidents followed although no formal disciplinary action was ever taken against B.

The key events that ultimately brought about B’s crash landing occurred on the morning of 10 June 2009. More...

25 June 2013


The damning Royal Commission report into the Pike River mining tragedy, issued in November 2011, found that Pike River’s directors had failed to pay sufficient attention to health and safety and that they had “exposed the company’s workers to an unacceptable risk”. 

The findings and the public outcry in response to them, led the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the re-branded Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (formerly Department of Labour) to formulate the Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks. 

These have been designed to provide a framework for company directors to maximise health and safety outcomes and improve company performance. More...

13 May 2013

For those who remember the blockbusting super-marionation television series of the 1960s, the name Thunderbird One will conjour up thoughts of space-age technology, international rescue and people committed to protecting their fellow man.  A recent case will challenge that notion after an employer of the same name was ordered to pay more than $60,000 to a former employee who was discriminated against, sexually harassed, and constructively dismissed.  

Thunderbird Two would have made light work of the 800kg load

Rachel Harrington started work with Thunderbird One Limited as a truck driver in September 2008.  It was not long before she began suffering unjustifiable treatment at the hands of her new employer.  This included being issued with a warning for damaging a vehicle, despite not being present when the damage occurred.  She was also threatened with disciplinary action for raising concerns about being asked to work beyond the statutory maximum number of hours for drivers. More...

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

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