New law expands workplace personal grievance options

A new law, passed by Parliament yesterday, expands the ability of workers in triangular employment situations to raise personal grievance claims.

The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill will be enacted shortly and come into force in 12 months’ time. This provides a long lead-in time for businesses and the employment institutions (like the Employment Relations Authority) to prepare for the change.

Triangular employment – such as a labour hire model – is where someone is employed by one employer, but working under another business or organisation that directs or controls the employee’s day-to-day work (a controlling third party).

Currently, employees can only bring a personal grievance – such as for harassment or discrimination – against their employer. For people in triangular employment situations, this limits their ability to raise a grievance, as often the actions that lead to them taking a claim are those of the controlling third party they are working with, rather than the person actually employing them.

The new law will allow either the employee or the employer to apply to the Employment Relations Authority to join a third party to a personal grievance claim, and for remedies to be apportioned to the responsible parties.

Personal grievances

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill — New Zealand Legislation website (external link)