Services for Workers
I work as an Employment Advocate in Auckland and Northland. I specialise in bullying, harassment, and discrimination cases, personal grievances, disciplinary action and dismissals.
I advise, represent, and advocate for employees who are having difficulties in their workplace. Sometimes the difficulties are with a fellow worker, but more usually with their manager or employer.
“most of my cases are resolved by negotiation”
I provide all levels of service, from advice and support, through representation in disciplinary proceedings, preparing personal grievances, negotiation of settlements and exit packages, assistance in mediation, to taking cases to the Employment Relations Authority.
When a new client approaches me, I try to use the first conversation (which is free) to listen to their story about what has happened, and to find out what the client wants as an outcome. Then I can usually give them some preliminary advice about what to do next.
After this first conversation, if a new client wants to engage me to represent them, we get agreement about my terms and conditions, begin to look at the evidence available about who has said or done what and when, and consider how to proceed.
Most of my cases are resolved by negotiation, because it is almost always in everybody’s interest to sort the matter out as quickly and cheaply as possible. I have many years of experience and well developed skills and expertise in conflict resolution. These skills, along with a very good working knowledge of Employment Law, enable me to focus my efforts on the central issues and the obstacles to settlement.
Services for Employers
I work as a consultant in private practice. While I represent and act for employers in dealing with employees by way of disciplinary procedures, dismissals, redundancies and grievances of various sorts, I very much prefer to be involved before things go wrong.
I am often engaged in a “firefighting” capacity after matters have deteriorated and relationships have been damaged. It is almost always more cost effective to involve me and use my skills much earlier in the process. I advise on policy, on fair and robust disciplinary procedures, on management of performance issues, and on redundancies.
“I prefer to be involved before things go wrong”
Most employers have only a very sketchy knowledge of how to conduct a disciplinary investigation, and many of them fall foul of the minimum requirements of the Employment Relations Act in terms of conducting a fair process. I can act on an employer’s behalf or give advice and guidance in this area.
Bullying, harassment and discrimination complaints are increasingly common. They are difficult to deal with. The employer has a clear duty to investigate any such complaint fully and fairly, and must not only afford the person complained about fair process but also avoid further traumatising the complainant. If (as is not uncommon) the employer’s own actions are being called into question, the investigation should almost certainly be independent. I investigate allegations of harassment, bullying, or discrimination.
“more cost effective to involve me early”
Complaints of discrimination can be brought under either the Human Rights Act or the Employment Relations Act. If the employer acts immediately on the complaint, has policies and procedures in place to prevent discrimination, and if their staff have been trained in these policies, they have a reasonable defence. If any of these conditions are not fulfilled, they are potentially liable for the actions of their employees. I train staff in their obligations under the Employment Relations Act and the Human Rights Act.