Disputes between employers and employees is a common happening in any workplace. The usual script is that a worker is dismissed and then later files a personal grievance claim against their employer. The claim is for damages for unjustified removal from employment. Other instances where an employer can file a personal grievance claim include discrimination in the workplace, wrong actions towards employees, sexual harassment and threats relating to an employment union.
Below are some procedures companies can implement when dismissing workers to prevent personal grievance claims.
Personal grievance cases in NZ often get dismissed because of the lack or absence of solid evidence. As such, I.R.Thompson Associates Ltd and other legal professionals recommend doing investigations before anything else. This ensures that the company has facts to support any action that will be taken against them as an employer.
After the investigation, the employee should be made aware of the investigations and the allegations. They should be given time to respond, and an opportunity to be advised and represented. Any worker should likewise be allowed to bring witnesses who can support their response to the allegations. After the hearing, the employee must be warned that the outcome of the process can be either dismissal or termination of employment.
Any decision should be communicated through the appropriate and accepted communication channels to the employee. The decision should neither be biased nor predetermined. If the employer has dismissed the employee, there is always a risk that the employee will go to file a personal grievance case. Before such a claim is filed, the employer could make it a condition that alternative dispute resolution method such as mediation is attempted before a claim is filed.
The personal grievance is an important issue for most companies. Therefore, firms are encouraged to consult experts in the personal grievance and employment law to lower risks that are connected with dismissing employees.