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If you’re fired or unfairly dismissed

If the process to fire you has not been handled properly or the reason you’ve been fired is not valid, you can raise a personal grievance with your employer.

The right process to fire someone

Your boss must follow a fair process and have a good reason to fire you.

Process to follow when working through a problem

Personal grievances

A personal grievance is a kind of complaint an employee can bring against an employer. For example, you can file a personal grievance if you think you’ve been unfairly fired — known as unjustified dismissal.

You must raise a personal grievance within 90 days. If you do not your employer does not have to do anything about your complaint.

Personal grievances

Being fired during a trial period

Your employer can fire you without giving reasons or warnings if you’re within a trial period.

Trial periods

Forced resignation or constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal is when you resign because your employer has made work unbearable for you or pressured you to resign.

Constructive dismissal

Get help

If you think you’ve been unfairly fired, get some advice about what to do.

Your union

If you belong to a union, you can get help from them when you have a problem at work.

Find your union

Citizens Advice Bureau

You can drop into a Citizens Advice Bureau, phone or email for free advice about problems at work.

Their website has information about resolving employment disputes and other problems at work.

Employment and business — Citizens Advice Bureau

Community Law

Community Law centres offer free legal information and advice to people who cannot afford to see a lawyer privately. If you're eligible, they may be able to:

  • offer ongoing legal assistance
  • help you with mediation
  • represent you at the Employment Relations Authority or court.

Find a Community Law centre

Get a lawyer

You can find lawyers through the New Zealand Law Society. Choose one that has ‘employment’ as their area of practice.

Find a lawyer or organisation

Mediation services

Mediation is free and private. Nothing said in mediation can be used later on if your problem goes to the Employment Relations Authority.


Employment Relations Authority (ERA)

If mediation has not worked, you can bring your work problem to the ERA.

Steps in taking a problem to the ERA

Employment Court

If you’re unhappy with the ERA’s decision, you can ask the Employment Court to take your case. You have to do that within 28 days of the decision.

Apply to the Employment Court

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