Employment Court

Marlene Campbell gets her beans, school justified in sacking her

Marlene Campbell, the nasty principal who attacked government ministers and comparing them to Hitler and Goebbels has lost her case before the Employment  Relations Authority.

Former Salford School principal Marlene Campbell may challenge an Employment Relations Authority decision that found she was not unjustifiably fired.

Authority member Mike Loftus determined that Campbell was not unjustifiably dismissed from the school but had been unjustifiably suspended, after reserving his decision at a hearing in May.

Salford School commissioner Nicola Hornsey sacked Campbell in March after a five-month suspension, saying her behaviour towards staff members had created an unhealthy and unsafe work environment at the school.

Campbell argued against the dismissal and took four claims against the school to the authority.    Read more »

Employment Court bogged down by Bridges inaction

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It’s no wonder party donors are expressing dismay with the Nats when businesses are being bogged down in employment courts thanks to the inaction of Labour Minister Simon Bridges.

Simon seems more at ease camping up for a farewell to Tony Ryall than worrying about little things like his legislation clogging up the Employment courts

Take the Employment Court case Matsuola v LSG Sky Chefs NZ. This case has been bogged down by lawyers fighting over the complicated and confusing Part 6A since early 2011.    Read more »

Are Woolworths Aussie owners getting ready to dump Countdown managers?

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Via the tip-line

Countdown’s ongoing PR debacle seems to be taking a nasty twist with rumours out of Australia saying the Aussies are preparing to throw Dave Chambers and the NZ management team under the bus.

Word reaching WOBH is that Woolworths are undertaking “research” on NZ suppliers – specifically asking what suppliers think of the managers of Countdown.

Now you could pass this off as usual market research to help understand how the company is perceived with its customers and suppliers. Nothing to see here, move on.

But when taken in light of the Commerce Commission investigation into Countdown’s Godfather tactics with NZ suppliers, a more sinister element starts to emerge.   Read more »

Winston Peters, Maori TV and the stitch up

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One thing certain about Winston Raymond Peters is that he never lets facts stand in the way of a good story.

Let’s take the recent case of the allegedly dodgy Maori trust Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau Trust.

Winston Peters raced out with a story in May, which by sheer coincidence happened to coincide with a so-called investigative report on Maori TV’s Native Affairs. All of this came about because a couple of fellas recently fired from the trust have decided to “get back” at the trust.

What better way to “get back” at the trust than to claim dodgy dealings and paint themselves as honest, caring whistle-blowers, and say that the only reason they were sacked was because when they tried to tell the CEO Malcolm Robson about misspending, Robson wasn’t interested.

As with all employment relations disputes where ex-employees think they’re in for a cash win-fall, the company has to play a straight bat. Robson, told Native Affairs in a statement that the employees were dismissed as a result of a pre-existing employment investigation involving “suspected breaches of employment conditions…” and that “there will be no comment on specific allegations or the individuals involved while the investigation is active.”

Sounds fair enough when you know someone’s keen on trying to extort seek a pay-out.   Read more »

A complete waste of the court’s time

The Snowden v RNZ case is a classic example of how obsessed and fixated litigants can murk up cases endlessly in their attempts to mount a wonky jihad to “clear their name” or prove that they were right.

In the end, it was a rout. After a 12-year, multimillion-dollar battle that began with a disagreement over newsroom budgets, former Radio New Zealand journalist Lynne Snowdon conclusively lost her Employment Court case last week.

She’d claimed RNZ treated her badly and then dismissed her unfairly. She’d claimed senior executives committed financial fraud then conspired to cover it up.

Along the way she’d made sundry complaints to the police, the Serious Fraud Office, the High Court, the Ombudsman, the Audit Office, the Commerce Select Committee, the Court of Appeal. She had invited a judge to recuse (disqualify) herself because she was biased.

But on Tuesday, the music stopped. Judge Tony Ford, of the Employment Court in Wellington, delivered a devastating written judgment based on an epic hearing that started last September and finished in February.

The judgment crushed each of Snowdon’s three main claims. Her employment grievances weren’t justified. Her dismissal had been fair. There had been no fraud whatsoever. In some cases the “evidence” that was meant to have supported her claims was non-existent.

Before spelling out his conclusions, though, Ford counted up some dreadful numbers. In the leadup to a normal employment hearing, he wrote, there might be a maximum of two preliminary (or “interlocutory”) hearings to figure out some procedural issues. This case had involved 23.

It is almost unheard of for the rulings from those minor hearings to be appealed. Snowdon appealed six of them. The case involved thousands of pages of evidence and exhibits. The hearing was delayed for years, and when it finally happened it took 47 days. It concerned events that mainly occurred over a decade ago. Millions have been spent or are owed.  Read more »

A good judge, but I bet the Privacy Commission would disagree

A judge has ruled in an employment case that there is no such thing as privacy on Facebook.

Judge Christina Inglis ruled against a ratbag employee who slagged off his boss on Facebook.

Slagging off your boss on Facebook might not be the best career move, with a judge warning there is no such thing as a private conversation on the social network.

The advice comes after an employee, who called his manager a dickhead on Facebook, lost his appeal for constructive dismissal.

Jarrod Hook took his case to the Employment Relations Authority earlier this year, claiming he was pushed into resigning from his job as an IT consultant for the Stream Group.  Read more »

Is MUNZ washed up in Auckland?

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I’m told that yesterday the Maritime Union ended their petulant and vindictive attack on PortPro (the second wharfies unions) via the Employment Court.

MUNZ was trying to oppose the legitimacy of workers dis-satisfied with MUNZ from setting up their own union.

In an ignominious withdrawal from proceedings MUNZ have pulled the plug on the latest court case against PortPro and offered to pay $750 in court costs. After some negotiation it was agreed that they pay $1250. This is not even a tenth of the actual costs their petty and vindictive action has actually cost PortPro.  Read more »

Idiots walk among us

Some people really are stupid, the problem is they generally are prolific breeders as well, spreading the stupid seed with gay abandon.

A worker, who was fired after his boss saw Facebook photos of him at a waka ama championship when he was meant to be at home sick, faces bankruptcy if hit up for legal costs.

Bruce Taiapa, of Gisborne, must pay his former employer, Turanga Ararau, $12,315 after he took the training institute to the Employment Relations Authority. It ruled the institute was entitled to sack him because he misused his sick leave. He appealed to the Employment Court, and lost that appeal.  Read more »

Whale Week What Was

QC7kkThe blog started Saturday by having a look at a number of Christchurch people taking pictures up women’s skirts at malls.  And wouldn’t you know it?  A teacher was arrested as well.  Iain Lees-Galloway shows he is a slimy git by opening a Burger King and then refusing to take a bite, preferring to preach sensible food choices.  Cam then called for nominations for Worst Political Journalist, and Barry Soper and John Campbell appeared hot favourites.   Next we had a vote on Best Political Journalist, which Larry Williams took out with a massive 47% of the vote.  Graham McCready withdrew litigation against John Banks because it made no sense to anyone – as in – they couldn’t understand what it said.  Whale then claims a win on his Hekia Parata predictions and wonders why Key has let this train wreck happen.  We raise our eyebrows about Nelson looking for a scooter riding bottom pincher and then watch a video of what happens to a pig at the bottom of the sea over 7 days.  Next a post where Greens are fighting Greens over the Google solar plant.  On the one side: solar energy.  On the other? Turtles.   Charles Krauthammer explains why gun control alone isn’t the solution to mass shootings.   A MENSA spokesperson calls people with low IQs carrots and the BBC feels they have to apologise.  There is a property for sale next to Kim Dotcom‘s place.  Cam suggests the GCSB or the US should have bought it to set up spying operations.   WOBH is calling for The Whale Army to send in their holiday snaps, in a new feature called Snapped!  Cam takes a brief look at who will enter parliament if Tim Groser leaves for the WTO.  To close the day, a WhaleTech post looks at a the cull-de-sac that’s the QII roll-up keyboard. Read more »

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Farrar on Industrial Relations Ctd

David Farrar’s bold assumptions about the article on the AFFCO dispute managed to rile up a senior IR lawyer who has contacted the tipline – with the request to remain anonymous because her claims about judicial activism could cost her cases when she is next in front of the employment court.

Affco’s employment contract commented on by David Farrar is still seen as reasonably aggressive but it is there to counter an increasing active and aggressive Employment Authority/Court where personal grievances are lost by employers on the ratio of 8 in every 10. Employers knowing this will often concede outside of court as even if they win it costs them more in time and legal fees to fight the case than to settle, tilting the balance heavily in favour of employees.

This type of clause has its roots in a move to adopt a “belt and braces” approach to termination rights. The Employment Court has awarded so many PGs against an employer on the basis that their ability to end an employment relationship was unclear, ambiguous or questionable. The onus is on the employer to show they have the right to sack the employee, and if there is ambiguity is always the employer who will lose.

The more you can put that doubt to bed the stronger your case in any PG for wrongful termination. Further the greater clarity and certainty you can provide around the respective rights of employees/employers (as a irreconcilable difference clause purports to do) the less likely you are to raise frivolous claims.

This clause is a  legitimate response to an increasingly interventionist and active employment bench. A precautionary approach to the uncertainty that current employment law provides, and the cost to employers of having to sack dud employees who then take personal grievance claims.

No surprise here. Labour introduces industrial relation laws that allow its activist judiciary to impose more unnecessary costs on employers, slowing economic growth. This is I understand the underlying issue that the Ports of Auckland faced, an activist judge willing to test prior case law to prove a personal point.