Now, more than ever before, employers must take extreme care to mitigate any possibility of exposure to a personal grievance (PG) being raised by an employee.
This is due to employment jurisdiction adopting a banding approach to determine the amount of compensation to be awarded - very similar to that used by the Human Rights Tribunal. While the monetary compensation is currently lower, employers can expect a natural morphing toward a much higher amount.
Unprecedentedly high compensation awards have been made recently toward employee claims. In January 2017 a health worker at a District Health Board was awarded $20,000 in compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings. This is considered a moderate amount.
In April 2018 a college teacher was awarded $50,000 for her claims of unjustified disadvantage and unjustified dismissal being upheld. Of the large number of PG’s raised in New Zealand, there are over 700 employment court determinations per annum.
The afore mentioned cases show a marked increase of compensation being awarded because of the new framework and banding approach. These changes look very promising for potential employee claimants, but should be extremely worrying for employers. The risks become much higher for employers taking any action against an employee.
Doing things right has never been more important. Our advice has always been “ask before you act” and to take extra care to ensure due process is followed. The consequences of getting things wrong have just become a whole lot more expensive.
Make sure your HR systems and processes are all working well and your team culture and performance management processes are up to date. If in doubt, get in touch, we’re here to help.
Filed under Business