Your options when you have a problem at work
If you've got a problem at work talk to your boss directly. If you can’t solve it you can get help from both government and other organisations. Some of this help is free.
Talk to your boss first
Talk to your manager first if you've got a problem at work such as:
- discrimination or harassment
- unfair warnings
- bad health and safety practices
- a disagreement over your contract
- holidays or pay.
If you've been given a warning
You should get the warning in writing and make sure you understand what you're being told and what will happen next.
If your employer takes disciplinary action
There has to be a good reason for your employer to take disciplinary action and they have to follow a fair process. If your employment agreement doesn't cover disciplinary action, your employer should still follow a fair process.
Help when you meet with your boss
You can take someone with you when you meet with your boss. It could be someone from a union or from the industry you work in.
If you and your boss can't agree
You may need to get legal help or arrange mediation.
You can find lawyers through the New Zealand Law Society. Choose one that has 'employment' as their area of practice.
Community law centres offer free legal information and advice to people who can't afford to see a lawyer privately.
If you're eligible, they may also be able to:
- offer ongoing legal assistance
- help you with mediation
- represent you at the Employment Relations Authority or in court.
Mediation is free and private. Nothing said there can be used later on if your problem goes to the Employment Relations Authority.
If you don’t think you’re getting what you’re entitled to by law (for example, paid holidays or minimum wages) a labour inspector can investigate to find out if your work follows minimum employment standards and laws.
You can contact a labour inspector through Employment New Zealand.
If your problem still isn't solved
If mediation hasn't worked, you have other options.
You can take a personal grievance against your employer. You have to do this within 90 days of the incident.
Another option is to bring your work problem to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
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 ERA's decision.