Our lawyers keep up with the latest trends and issues in New Zealand law and business, and regularly publish articles and reports on current topics.

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Health and Safety Update: Franchisors

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER; Darryl King, PARTNER on December 1st, 2015.    

We recently published an update on the new Health and Safety at Work Act which comes into force in April 2016.  Under the new Act, business owners will have to take a more hands-on approach to health and safety. Franchisors are in the unique position of having two “layers” of health and safety duties to consider.

Health and Safety At Work Act 2015: November 2015 Update

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER; Darryl King, PARTNER on November 9th, 2015.    

In early 2015 we reviewed the draft bill overhauling New Zealand’s health and safety legislation and provided comments on the draft bill to our clients.  The select committee made several notable amendments to that draft bill. The amended bill was recently passed as the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  The Act comes into force in April 2016.  We have set out the key parts of the final version, including our comments about the recent changes, in our update below.

Restraints of Trade in Franchising

Written by Darryl King, PARTNER on November 9th, 2015.    

Most franchise agreements contain a restraint of trade clause. These are restraints on the franchisee and its owner from competing against the franchise system. Two recent interim injunctions have shown the Court’s ability and willingness to enforce restraints of trade against former franchisees, at least on a temporary basis.  In both cases the Courts have acted to protect the franchisor’s goodwill and upheld restraint of trade terms on an interim basis, until questions about the validity of the restraints can be resolved.

Franchising in New Zealand: A Legal Perspective

Written by Darryl King, PARTNER on November 2nd, 2015.    

Jackson Russell helps franchisors and franchisees successfully navigate the life cycle of a franchise or licensing business model from inception through to exit. This image shows a legal perspective on some of the regulatory changes and key trends in the franchising sector in New Zealand.

Commerce Commission Publishes 2015 Consumer Issues Report

Written by Darryl King, PARTNER on October 6th, 2015.    

The Commerce Commission has released its second Consumer Issues Report.  The report identifies key issues and emerging risks that have the potential to affect consumers in New Zealand, and upcoming areas of focus for the Commerce Commission.  The report is based on industry information and recent consumer complaints received by the Commission.   

Dismissed Employees May Not be Compensated - Even if Procedural Errors

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 10th, 2015.    

Until recently, it was generally accepted that if an employee was dismissed and the procedure was flawed, then they would be able to claim for lost wages (as well as compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings). However, a recent Employment Court case has taken a different approach in a situation where the flawed procedure did not affect the outcome.

Health and Safety Law Reform: March 2015

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER; Darryl King, PARTNER on March 9th, 2015.    

New Zealand’s Health and Safety legislation is undergoing a major overhaul in response to a renewed focus on the safety in the workplace. The review was spurred, in part, by the Pike River tragedy and the well-publicised record of the Forestry Industry. The changes will align New Zealand’s approach with Australia’s current law and provide some hefty disincentives to taking a lax approach to Health and Safety. We have briefly summarised the key changes for you below. Some of them are already in force, but the major changes are scheduled to become active in mid-late 2015.

Cash Remedies for Hurt Feelings

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on March 9th, 2015.    

When an employee is dismissed from (or disadvantaged at) work, there will inevitably be a degree of injury to feelings. When that action is not reasonable or justifiable, the impact can be far greater. The Employment Relations Act provides a remedy for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings an employee suffers as a result of unjustifiable dismissal and unjustifiable actions by an employer.

Privacy Breach Results in $168,000 Award for Offensive Cake Baker

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on March 2nd, 2015.    

Ms Hammond was employed by Credit Union Baywide, but had recently resigned to move to another company in the region. A friend of hers had also recently resigned, albeit by way of a mediated settlement. It was clear that Ms Hammond and her friend took a dim view of the circumstances of the friend’s exit. In order to cheer her friend up, Ms Hammond baked a cake which she iced with several abusive words describing Credit Union Baywide.

Port Fails to Follow Own Procedure

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on February 9th, 2015.    

It is not difficult for employers to make procedural errors when taking disciplinary action against employees. It is a regular complaint, particularly from small employers, that the procedural requirements for even simple disciplinary matters are complex and technical. This can lead to findings of unjustified dismissal, not because an employee hasn’t committed serious misconduct, but because a full and fair procedure was not followed to reach that conclusion.

Building Law Update: Changes to the Building Act 2004

Written by Mark Sullivan, PARTNER on February 2nd, 2015.    

The Government has made significant changes to the Building Act 2004 (and supporting regulations) which will affect the way you interact with your customers. These changes came into force on 1 January 2015 and carry some hefty penalties for non-compliance. If you are a builder, plumber, electrician or tradesman involved in residential construction, these changes will apply to you.

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