Under the Employment Relations Act, there is no formal statutory procedure set out in legislation for resolving employment relationship problems. The submission of the grievance need not be in writing and there is no statutory requirement for the employer to formally respond in writing within 14 days of receipt of the grievance. However, you must comply with your own procedure and a timely response is recommended. If an employee who has been dismissed requests a statement of the reasons for that dismissal, the employer must provide that statement (in writing) within 14 days of receiving the employee’s request.
The Act promotes mediation as the preferred way to resolve any employment relationship problem, including any personal grievance. Accordingly, if a personal grievance cannot be resolved by direct discussion between the employer and employee, the parties are encouraged to use the mediation services provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and mployment.
Note: As with any employment relationship problem, the employee concerned may choose to be represented in connection with the proceedings. In accordance with Section 236 of the mployment Relations Act, where an employee authorises a representative (including a union official) to represent them on any employment matter, management is obliged to recognise and deal with that representative in good faith. Depending on the circumstances, this may mean that all communications with the employee (written and oral) in connection with that matter need to be directed to the employee via their authorised representative. To ignore or bypass the employee’s representative in such circumstances would amount to a breach of Section 236 leaving the employer open to legal action.