What happens and what you need to know
Any employee who believes that they have been unjustifiably disadvantaged in, or unfairly dismissed from, their employment has the right to raise a personal grievance against their employer so long as they do this within 90 days of the alleged grievance occurring or coming to the notice of the employee, whichever is the later.
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The Employment Relations Act 2000 gives all employees the right to raise a Personal Grievance for:
- Unjustifiable dismissal
- An unjustifiable action that creates a disadvantage
- Unfair discrimination
- Harassment – sexual, racial, physical, psychological…
- Duress over membership of a union or other employee organisation
While most personal grievances are raised in writing, a clear oral communication by the employee that they are raising a personal grievance may also be enough to convince the Employment Authority that a grievance has indeed been raised.
Receiving a personal grievance is the cause of much stress and many sleepless nights for most business owners. It is also almost certainly the cause of much stress and many sleepless nights for the employee who alleges that they have been unfairly disadvantaged or dismissed.
If you do receive a personal grievance you are required to respond and you would normally be given a 7 – 14 day time frame in which to prepare your response. This means that while you cannot ignore it, there is no reason to respond immediately, so always seek advice before penning a response.
EIPM can help
Excellence In People Management can represent both employers and employees in either raising or responding to a personal grievance. Don’t attempt to go through this experience alone – whether you are the alleged perpetrator or victim it is often hard to extract yourself from the situation and to think clearly and non-judgementally about your options.
Whether you are the employer or the employee we can help by:
- Assessing your case and advising on the pros and cons of the options that you face
- Preparing the personal grievance letter or responding to one that you receive
- Negotiating with the other party towards an agreeable early settlement if appropriate
- Representation at mediation with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment dispute resolution service
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