Employment Dispute Services

Is a nationwide firm specialising in all aspects of employment law. No win no fee options for employers and employees.

Free Online Consultation

Employer Services

Employment Agreements
Contractor Agreements
Restructuring and Redundancy Issues
Disciplinary Meetings
Personal Grievances
Tribunal Hearings
Dismissal Advice

Employee Services

Employment Agreement Advice
Disciplinary Meetings
Personal Grievances
Wage Arrears and Holiday Pay
Sexual Harassment
Discrimination
Constructive Dismissal

Consultancy & Contracts

Contract Agreements
Contract Negotiation
Employment Law Consultancy
Work Policies
HR Consultancy

About

Employment Dispute Services is a nation wide firm specialising in employment law. We act for employees and employers and assist with all matters relating to employment law. This includes; preparing employment agreements; attending disciplinary meetings; advising on restructurings and filing and defending personal grievances. Personal grievances include such claims as unjustified dismissals, unjustified redundancies, sexual harassment and discrimination.

We believe we offer a very quick and cost effective service. This is partly because we often charge on a "no win no fee" basis. As we do not usually charge on an hourly rate we have no incentive to draw matters out and we only get paid if we achieve a "win" at any point throughout the case.

Much of our work deals with resolving personal grievances and we resolve about two thirds of claims at the Mediation Service section of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (previously known as the Department of Labour). The firm has resolved over 14,000 disputes in the last 18 years.

The Director of the firm is David Feist (LlB/BSc). David has had over 27 years experience as a lawyer and Employment Law Consultant. David has appeared before the High Court, District Court, Employment Court, Employment Tribunal and Employment Relations Authority on many occasions. David overlooks all Advocates throughout New Zealand at Employment Dispute Services.

If you would like experienced, qualified employment law specialists to sort out your employment law problem in a quick, cost effective manner give us a call on 0800 SACKED or 0800 722 533. The initial phone consultation is free!

EMPLOYEE SERVICES AND FEES

We deal with all employment law issues relating to employees. The matters we commonly deal with are set out below. If you have a particular query you can email us using the 'Free Online Consultation' button found under 'Home'.

Employment Agreement Advice

An employer must give every employee a contract. If you have been offered a contract we can advise you on what you may believe are "troublesome clauses" and whether such clauses are appropriate. Some people for example may object to trial period clauses; "restraint of trade" clauses or clauses requiring compulsory drug testing. Our fees for such assistance with such agreements are normally calculated on an hourly or quote basis and would have to be discussed with the individual consultant.

Disciplinary Meetings/Exit Packages

If in the course of your employment you are asked to come to a disciplinary meeting your employer may advise you (and hopefully will) that you have a right to representation. We can advise you of your rights prior to the meeting and also attend the meeting with you.

For attending such meetings we generally charge a relatively small fixed fee payable in advance (or at the meeting), together with a "contingency fee" if your employer offers you an "exit package" at that meeting. An exit package is where employer pays out monies to an employee in exchange for the employee resigning. The exact details of such a fee would have to be discussed with your individual consultant but the fee is based on a percentage.

Personal Grievances

Personal grievances are legal claims against an employer for such things as; unjustified dismissal; unjustified forced resignation (or constructive dismissal); unjustified redundancy dismissal; unjustified "disadvantage" (demotions, cuts in pay, bullying etc.); sexual harassment; breach of parental leave legislation or racial discrimination.

The full list of possible claims is set out in the Employment Relations Act 2000. This Act can be viewed at www.legislation.govt.nz. These claims can be filed in a relatively low level judicial body called the Employment Relations Authority but you have to attempt mediation first either informally or at the Mediation Service of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

After you contact us we usually write a letter to the employer notifying them of your grievance and then phone them to inquire if they are amenable to attending mediation or possibly settling the matter. If your employer consents to mediate, we arrange a formal mediation at the Mediation Service. About two thirds of mediations result in a settlement.

If your employer does not agree to a mediation or alternatively the mediation is unsuccessful we go to the Employment Relations Authority, if it looks like you may obtain financial redress.

Wage Arrears and Holiday Pay Matters

We occasionally have clients wanting us to collect wage arrears and will act for them if our fees are justified considering the amount sought. This requires the filing of a wage arrears action. We charge on a "no win no fee" basis for this as well.

Redundancies

We also can advise people on impending redundancy situations or restructuring. This is usually charged on an hourly rate beyond initial consultation including further advice and attendance of meetings.

EMPLOYER SERVICES

Unlike any other employment relations consultants or lawyers in New Zealand, we offer a "no win no fee" service if an employer is being sued by an employee regarding an employment relationship problem.

This is dependent on the merits of the case and whether you may wish to have an ongoing relationship with our firm. Please phone us to discuss if you wish to explore this option.

Employment Agreements/Independent Contractor Agreements

We can draw up agreements for a range of employees or independent contractors including; commission based sales staff; management or shop floor personnel. We can also insert restraint of trade terms and for this drafting work we will generally give you a fee quote.

Restructuring and Redundancy Issues

This area of the law is complex as it has changed every few years since the early 1990's. We can offer advice on an hourly rate about how to properly consult with staff if restructuring or redundancies are required.

Disciplinary Meetings

This may involve us in either advising you how to handle such meetings or possibly attending on site with clients. This is charged on an hourly rate quote basis and we offer a "money back guarantee" for dismissals. If you are sued for unjustified dismissal on a matter we advised on – we will defend you on a "no win no fee" basis.

Personal Grievances

We will defend employers against the various grievances detailed above, on a "no win no fee" basis if the merits of the case lean towards a successful outcome. As for employees, we also defend employers at all levels. The fee will be discussed with you before commencement.

Other Services

We also act for employers on other types of claims such as wage arrears etc. on a "no win no fee" basis, if we consider the employer will be successful.

FAQ

Employment law has changed radically over the last 30 years. Until the 1970's you could only bring a claim as an employee for unjustified dismissal if you had not been paid your proper "notice" - which was often just one week's pay.

Employers did not have to give employees an opportunity to explain or "fair procedure" before they dismissed staff.

However, modern day employment law demands that all employees must be granted a fair procedure before they are disciplined or dismissed. Further, you no longer need to be a union member to bring a claim.

The Employment Contracts Act 1991 was repealed in 2000 and replaced by the Employment Relations Act 2000. The grounds for a personal grievance did not change significantly although the names of the institutions dealing with claims did change name.

We often get asked the questions below and hope the answers assist:

1. Q. What court deals with employment law?
A. The Employment Relations Authority has exclusive jurisdiction over employment law problems. You must however first attempt mediation privately within the employment relationship or at the Mediation Service before filing a claim. If the case does not settle at the Employment Relations Authority, there are appeal rights to the Employment Court and Court of Appeal.

2. Q. When is a dismissal legally justifiable?
A. A dismissal will be justified if it was a decision that a "reasonable employer" could have made. In practice, the employer must give the employee a chance to be heard before any decision is made and the evidence gained during an investigation must have enough "substance" sufficient to warrant termination.

3. Q. I was made redundant but believe that the real reason was that the employer did not like me. Can I do anything about it?
A. Yes you can. This is known as a "false redundancy" and amounts to an unjustified dismissal. If the real reason for a redundancy was a personal dislike (or feeling that the employee was not performing) the dismissal will be held to be unjustified as there was an "improper motive".

4. Q. I believe I was unfairly forced to resign. Can I do anything about it?
A. Yes you can. If your employer coerced you into resigning or was so grossly unfair that you resigned you may have a claim for "constructive dismissal".

5. Q. I am still at work and believe I have been treated unfairly (e.g. unfair warnings, sexual harassment, a demotion or cut in pay or hours or being sworn at). What can I do?
A. If you have been treated unfairly in one of the above ways you are legally entitled to bring a personal grievance for "unjustified disadvantage" (essentially a breach of your oral or written employment contract). Before filing such a claim however we often try and arrange a meeting at the employer's premises to see if the matter can be resolved - often by an exit package.

6. Q. How much do I get if I am successful in bringing a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal?
A. Generally speaking you will get the wages that you actually lost as a result of dismissal and a sum for "emotional distress". This means that if you are unemployed for one month and then found a job (paying more) then you will get awarded one month's salary and a payment for distress and humiliation (that averages $3,000).

7. Q. How long have I got to bring a claim?
A. You must notify the employer within 90 days of the dismissal or action that you are complaining about.

8. Q. I believe I am owed wages or holiday pay. Can you help me?
A. Yes we can, if our fees are justified considering the amount sought. We can write to the employer requesting the money or file a wage arrears action.

9. Q. Can I bring the claim myself without getting a lawyer or advocate?
A. You can handle the matter yourself.

10. Q. What are your fees?
A. We only charge if we are successful in obtaining a successful result i.e. a monetary settlement, successful defense or reinstatement. We call it a "no win no fee" fee agreement and the lawyers call it a "contingency fee".

Contact

Employment Dispute Services
Level Four
369 Queen Street
Auckland 1010
PO Box 6798 Wellesley Street Auckland 1141

Toll Free: 0800 SACKED (0800 722 533) Email:

Online Consultation Form

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