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June 2016

Interesting or topical employment cases.

Modern Transport Engineers (2002) Ltd [2016] NZEmpC 68

Employment Court – 90 day trial periods

The plaintiff sought to invoke a 90 day trial period clause to prevent the defendant from bringing a personal grievance, but could not produce a signed copy of the employment agreement. The Employment Court held at [15] that it was satisfied that the defendant had been given an employment agreement containing a 90 day trial period, even if a signed copy had not been produced in evidence. The Court stated at [22] “the mere fact that a written agreement cannot be produced is not the start and finish of the inquiry”.

Modern Transport Engineers (2002) Ltd [2016] NZEmpC 68 (external link)


Kaipara District Council v McKerchar [2016] NZERA Auckland 203

Employment Relations Authority – Removal to Employment Court granted

The parties had entered into a deed of settlement, not made under s 149 of the Employment Relations Act 2000, under which they agreed that the respondent’s employment would terminate. The applicant then sought to bring claims against the respondent, arising out of the respondent’s employment. The applicant claimed that since it was not aware of the breaches at the time of signing the deed of settlement, the deed did not prevent it from bringing the claims. The respondent also sought to bring a counterclaim, alleging breaches of the deed of settlement by the applicant. The applicant argued that the respondent was barred from making this claim in the employment jurisdiction, since it related to post-employment obligations. The Employment Relations Authority found that there were important questions of law to be heard regarding the enforceability of the deed of settlement, and whether the respondent could raise his claims in the Authority. There was also a public interest in having the case heard by the Employment Court, as there was intense media scrutiny surrounding the dispute. The case was removed to the Employment Court.

Kaipara District Council v McKerchar [2016] NZERA Auckland 203 (external link)


Brill v Labour Inspector (Macrury) [2016] NZCA 262

Court of Appeal – Leave to appeal granted

The Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal on what a Labour Inspector must prove to establish that any officer, director, or agent of a company has directed or authorised a default in payment of minimum wages and/or holiday pay, under s 234(2) of the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Brill v Labour Inspector (Macrury) [2016] NZCA 262 (external link)

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