Despite the best efforts of those involved, employees and employers sometimes need external assistance to resolve their employment disputes.  If they have tried talking or mediating directly, then the next step is generally that an employment dispute is decided in the Employment Relations Authority.  If one of the parties is unhappy with the Authority’s decision, they can appeal to the Employment Court.  In special circumstances, an employee or an employer can apply to the Authority for a matter to be removed straight to the Employment Court.  If the Authority declines an application, a party can ask the Employment Court for special leave for the same matter to be heard there.

A recent decision of the Employment Court has confirmed that a dispute is more likely to be removed to the Court if:

  • It concerns an important question of law;
  • Hearing the case in the Court is in the public interest; or
  • The Employment Relations Authority is of the opinion that the Employment Court should determine the matter.

The choice of forum can influence the outcome of the matter, the length of time the litigation will take and the costs involved.  Whether you are an employee or an employer, if you find yourself involved in an employment dispute, we recommend that you seek the advice of our employment law experts before deciding which forum is right for you.

For more information call 04 472 0020 to speak with our Wellington employment lawyers.

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