Employment Relationship Problems
We offer advice and support on all aspects relating to employment relationship problems. Employment relationship problems can arise in a number of situations, from disputes over holiday or pay calculations to disciplinary or performance matters. They affect all the parties involved both on a professional and personal level and can consume hours of time and resources. Our team will inject sound and experienced knowledge into your situation in order to resolve it and attain the desired outcome in a timely manner, whether in preparation or defence of a claim.
We specialise in the following non-exclusive areas:
We provide advice on all relevant aspects of disciplinary law and practice. We have a wealth of experience in addressing situations involving misconduct and serious misconduct and will sit down with you to work out the most effective and legally sound way of dealing with disciplinary matters, including how to commence proceedings and how to resolve them. We can assist you throughout the entire disciplinary process, from investigations, to warnings, through to possible termination of employment.
Resolving personal grievances can be a lengthy process and we provide advice and support in a timely and constructive manner. We offer advice on how to approach a personal grievance that an employee has raised, how to proceed in negotiations and how to reach a settlement and/or other resolution. Our skilled team will help to ensure that what can often be a difficult and stressful process is resolved as smoothly and quickly as possible with the least amount of impact on day to day business.
We have considerable experience in advising clients regarding mediation. More often than not a personal grievance or a disciplinary issue will end up in mediation and we will represent you and assist you in working towards a positive and constructive consensus. Our services include meeting with you to discuss the relevant issues related to your case, preparing mediation submissions and attending mediation hearings with you as your representative.
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND COURT PROCEEDINGS
We provide advocacy services from the outset of any employment relationship problem right through to its conclusion, which will sometimes involve proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court and on occasion other Courts up to the Supreme Court. Such proceedings involve a considerable amount of procedural and administrative work and we undertake this in conjunction with the preparation and presentation of clients’ substantive claims. We have proven success and experience in the area of representing both small and large businesses and government agencies before the Authority and the courts.
See ‘Collective Bargaining’.
Performance management is a vital tool for successful employee management. It ensures a high quality of output, promotes health and safety and work/life balance and helps to ensure that employment problems do not accumulate unnoticed. The team at Cullen provides advice on how to best manage performance, from complying with procedural obligations to putting systems in place to monitor performance.
We can help you with:
Setting performance objectives
Determining ways to monitor how these are being met
Dealing with instances of unsatisfactory performance
Dealing with disagreements about performance
Individual/Collective Employment Agreements and Contractor Agreements
We design and draft employment agreements for all types of employment including permanent full-time, permanent part-time, casual, and contracting agreements. Employment legislation is constantly evolving and the requirements around what must be included in an agreement change frequently. We streamline the process of drafting agreements and provide agreements that are legally sound and reliable. We also provide advice about how to vary employment agreements once they have been ratified.
We offer support with regard to determining what types of legal employment arrangements might apply to certain employees based upon their hours of work and responsibilities. How to apply the law in particular around casual employment can sometimes be difficult. If you are unsure about what category of employment a potential employee might fit into please feel free to contact us for advice.
Collective Bargaining & Industrial Action
We have a real understanding of the importance of relationships between employers and unions in New Zealand. There are strict laws prescribing employers’ responsibilities in relation to collective bargaining. In particular it is important for employers to operate in accordance with the principles of good faith which underpin the Employment Relations Act 2000. For example, employers and unions must conclude a collective agreement unless there is a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds not to do so.
- Advice about the correct procedures for collective bargaining
- Advice about single party and multi-party bargaining
- Advice about what must be in a collective agreement
- Mediation services during the negotiation process
- Advice about the requirements to be fulfilled by the employer after an agreement has been ratified
Sometimes when a collective agreement is being negotiated or after it has been ratified, employers and unions disagree on the terms. This may lead to employees striking or engaging in other forms of industrial action. We provide advice and support on employers’ options in these situations, which include further negotiation, mediation or industrial action on the part of the employer.
We can conduct independent investigations into issues ranging from harassment allegations to other types of employment disputes. Often the need for an independent investigation arises when an employer does not have the time or expertise to devote to an investigation themselves. In this situation we are able to assist and still ensure that the employer is fulfilling their duties as the party ultimately responsible for the investigation.
Restructuring and Redundancy (Change Processes)
We have the expertise to assist in management of change processes, advise on the law pertaining to them, and provide support for any problems which might arise. Consultation is of particular importance and it is important to note that some employees may have different employment protections in restructuring/redundancy situations than others. We can help you with assessing redundancy entitlements, consultation and other processes, and ensuring a smooth process.
Employment Law Compliance
Employment law extends across all aspects of employment and confers significant responsibilities on both employers and employees. There are a number of statutory minimums in relation to the terms and conditions of employment and there is a significant amount of legislation which prescribes certain behaviours by the parties to an employment relationship. We have the resources and the experience to ensure that employers are able to meet their legal obligations and carry out their responsibilities efficiently and effectively. Employers need to be aware, for example, of the law around:
We are able to conduct an HR audit for your business or agency to ensure that effective, legally sound practices and procedures are in place for you as an employer to run at optimum efficiency. An HR Audit by Cullen involves us partnering with you to bring policy and practice into alignment with current employment legislation and with the overall direction your business or agency is taking.