off the record

Is This Discussion “Off The Record”?

“Brian,” the boss addresses him as he sits down at the boardroom table. “We need to have a chat about your future at XYZ Limited.” Brian’s face goes white. He imagined he’d have another 20 years left at XYZ. At least another five, until he had broken the back of

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thinking about fair process

Give Your Employee A Chance To Change Your Mind

Plenty of New Zealand employers think the law is too “employee-friendly”. They cite cases where employees were surely at fault, but came away with big awards because the employer stuffed up the dismissal process. “How can that be fair?,” they wonder. They go on to assume that it doesn’t matter

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secret identity

Must You Disclose the Identity of Complainants?

Imagine this. One of your employees tells you that another employee has been stealing from the petty cash. Now, you are a fair and reasonable employer. Though you feel this employee is telling the truth, you won’t jump to any conclusions. You will treat it as an allegation and ask the

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incompatibility

What Is Incompatibility?

It is generally well known that you must have a good reason to dismiss an employee under New Zealand law. The sorts of good reasons you may be familiar with include: that the employee’s position is redundant; that the employee has misbehaved; or that the employee’s performance is not up to

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employee abandoned their chair?

When Your Employee Doesn’t Show Up For Work

Most employers will tolerate an employee showing up late for work once in a while. We’ve all had a bus arrive late, found ourselves stuck in bad traffic, or had a sick child that needed urgent care. In those cases, you’d expect your employee to get in touch, to let

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informal is ok

Are Informal Performance Discussions OK?

I often find employers are afraid to raise performance concerns with their staff. They may not want to get heavy-handed or issue a warning. They just want to raise some concerns – to let their staff know what is, or is not, an acceptable performance. But like them, you may

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Employers Are Not Judges

How sure must you be that you have your facts right before dismissing an employee for misbehaviour? You usually can’t be 100% certain that they did what you have alleged. If you didn’t see it with your own eyes, you will need to rely on what others say they saw

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Don’t Confuse Poor Performance and Misconduct


A crucial element of a fair dismissal is that there are good grounds to dismiss. Employment lawyers like me tend to talk a lot about ensuring you have a fair process. Yet you can have a perfect process and still unfairly dismiss your employee if you didn’t have good reasons

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Is A Support Person Allowed To Speak?

One aspect of what it means to be a fair employer is allowing your employees to have support and advice during disciplinary meetings. But depending on the nature of the person who your employee has brought along with them, their presence can either: help the meeting go smoothly by supporting

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How To Dismiss An Employee When Their Visa Runs Out

Record numbers of people are immigrating to New Zealand. If you run a business that is in constant need of more staff, that is great news for you. But when hiring for vacant roles, you must be careful to observe the laws about who can and cannot work here. In

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