1. Understand what the problem raised is. 
  2. Check the existing employment agreement, and other policies or rules about the parties’ rights and obligations towards each other.
  3. Get advice on what your obligations are and how best to respond to the grievance.
  4. Discuss the problem with the employee and investigate any allegations if necessary, and take appropriate action in response.  The employee is entitled to a support person or representative.
  5. Be open and communicative to try to resolve the grievance at a low level.
  6. If the personal grievance is not resolved between the parties, they can go to mediation.  The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Mediation Service provides mediation services free of charge.
  7. At mediation the parties aim to come up with practical solutions for the problem and may agree on a settlement. 
  8. The settlement can be recorded in writing and if it is signed by a mediator from the Mediation Service, it will be legally binding and enforceable. The process is also confidential.
  9. If mediation fails to resolve the problem the personal grievance may escalate to the Employment Relations Authority who will investigate the matter and make a decision.
  10. The claimant files a Statement of Problem.
  11. The respondent files a Statement of Reply.
  12. Both parties exchange documents relevant to the dispute.
  13. Each party prepares their evidence and provides this to the other party.
  14. Both parties present their evidence to the ERA in a hearing.
  15. Each party can make submissions to the ERA.
  16. The ERA makes its decision.
  17. The parties can challenge the decision in the Employment Court.
  18. The Court follows a similar process with claims, defence, documents, evidence and submissions before reaching its decision.
  19. The parties can appeal to the Court of Appeal usually only for errors of law.
  20. The Court follows a similar process regarding arguments before giving its decision.


Alan Knowsley