Unfair dismissal

You can make a claim for unfair dismissal if you believe your employer didn’t have good reason to terminate your contract, or if they failed to follow a fair process.
If you feel your contract has been unfairly terminated and/or proper process has not been followed, you may bring a personal grievance against your employer.

What is unfair dismissal?

There are two aspects to unfair dismissal: fair process and good reason.
Fair process: an employer is required to follow proper process to end your employment. What is accepted to be fair process is determined by the standards established by the Employment Relations Authority.
Good reason: your employer must have justification for ending your employment. You have the right to request this reasoning in writing and if you disagree with the justification, you can bring a personal grievance against them.
Grounds for a personal grievance
There are many grounds for unfair dismissal. Typically they include reasons like: failure to give proper notice, failure to address their concerns with you, not having all the facts and so forth. It’s important to remember that every case is different, so it’s best to seek professional advice if you have any doubts.
What is the compensation in New Zealand for unfair dismissal?

In New Zealand, the Employment Relations Authority generally handles unjustifiable dismissal claims. If successful the ERA will look to award remedies to the employee. These generally can be; reinstatement, lost wages, compensation and costs.

The amount varies depending on the circumstances of the case and is determined by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) or by the Employment Court.

Lost wages generally look to compensate an employee for the actual loss of wages for up to a 13 week period after the dismissal. It is possible to apply for beyond this period, but an employee must have been applying for work in this period, or have good reason why they did not.

Compensation for hurt feelings depends on the circumstances and is determined by the Member (The ERA Decision maker) or Judge. Things like length of service, how humiliating the dismissal was and the actual impact suffered are all factors for consideration.

How we help

We’ll provide you with advice, support and represent you in any mediation with your employer. Our service is no win, no fee and we cover any costs that may be incurred until the situation is resolved. Unfair dismissal is stressful, so we’re here to help you get through and get the resolution you deserve.

If you feel you have been subject to unfair dismissal, we urge you to contact us immediately, in confidence.

If you want more information about unjustified or unfair dismissal, you can read a comprehensive summary at Employment New Zealand.

Additional information about the help you can access is available here.

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