PUBLICATIONS

Publications

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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It's Out - Employment Relations Amendment Bill

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on January 26th, 2018.    

The Government has release its plans for reform of the employment laws. A summary of the areas where changes will be happening are attached.

 

Paying the Price for Decision over Workplace Tantrum

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on July 12th, 2016.    

Until the robots take over, an essential feature of workplaces will be human interaction.  When combined with the pressures of modern employment, the broad range of personality types can often lead to conflict which an employer will need to step in and resolve.

However, a recent Authority decision is a handy reminder that the employer must act fairly in any steps it takes – as well as being realistic about the level of 
bad behaviour that will justify termination.  
 

Employment Update: Amendments to the Employment Relations Act

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on May 2nd, 2016.    

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2016 (the Act) came into force on 1 April 2016, but many employers may have missed its important changes while coming to grips with the implications of the new health and safety regime.

We summarise the changes below, along with our comments about some potential unexpected consequences they might have.
 

Health and Safety Update: New Regulations Bolster General Duties

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on April 14th, 2016.    

Over the past 18 months, we have followed the development of a new health and safety regime for New Zealand.  The core duties under that new regime are contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  While the Act deals in broad duties, detailed requirements for certain key areas and industries are set out in the newly released regulations.  
 

Health and Safety at Work Act: Visual Summary

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER; Darryl King, PARTNER; Claire Godber, SENIOR ASSOCIATE on April 12th, 2016.    

All workplaces in New Zealand need to comply with the new Health and Safety at Work Act.  Existing health and safety systems will need updating across low risk and high risk industries, ranging from small businesses to large corporates.  Directors and senior managers have non-delegable duties and personal liability. 

 

Health and Safety at Work Act: Landlords

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER; Darryl King, PARTNER on March 16th, 2016.    

The new Health and Safety at Work Act comes into force in April 2016. This legislation will add a number of new features to the health and safety landscape, which landlords will need to consider.
 
Under the current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, commercial landlords owe health and safety duties where they own a building which is used as a workplace.  These duties apply whether the building is used for their own business or leased to another employer. 
 

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.
 

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.
 

Without Prejudice Conversations

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 11th, 2014.    

More and more frequently, people are looking to resolve their disputes without resorting to time-consuming, stressful and expensive formal litigation. Employment disputes are no exception, and have a high rate of out-of-court settlement.

A key feature in finding such a solution is the ability to speak “without prejudice”.
 

Lucan Battison Successful Over Unlawful School Rules

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on July 1st, 2014.    

Recently the Nation watched with interest as Lucan Battison successfully took St John’s College to the High Court after being suspended for refusing to cut his hair. We have summarised the case below, and provided some general comments about how schools can avoid or minimise the risk of having disciplinary decisions based on non-compliance with school rules challenged.
 
 

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