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New Personal Grievance Rules

On and from 27 June 2020, the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act comes into force.

This amendment to the Act will apply to those businesses and organisations who engage a third party to provide labour for hire. This means if you paying another company for that company’s employees to perform work for you, even though you are not the employer of those people, should they raise a personal grievance while performing work for your company, you may now also be included as a party to that grievance.

The effect of this amendment to the Act is both the employee’s direct employer and the business or organisation in which they are placed to provide services, could potentially become respondents to a personal grievance.

The Act calls the third party a “Controlling Party as meaning a person:

  • who has a contract or other arrangement with an employer under which an employee of the employer performs work for the benefit of the person; and

  • who exercises, or is entitled to exercise, control or direction over the employee that is similar or substantially similar to the control or direction that an employer exercises, or is entitled to exercise, in relation to the employee

An employee who feels that the third party has caused or contributed to their grievance may apply to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) or Court to have the third part joined to the proceedings to resolve the grievance.

The ERA or Court in considering such an application must be satisfied that the third party has been given notice under s155A of the Act and that the third party is in fact a Controlling Party and that there is an arguable case that the third party may have caused or contributed to the grievance.

In the first instance, the ERA or Court may direct the parties to mediation to resolve the grievance.

The 90-day notice for raising a personal grievance still applies. However for the purposes of bringing a third party into the grievance, the 90-day employee notification period means the period of 90 days beginning with the date on which the action alleged to amount to a personal grievance occurred or came to the notice of the employee, whichever is later.

Notice could potentially also be given to the third party by the employee’s employer in which case the 90-day employer notification period means the period of 90 days beginning with the date on which the employer’s employee raised the personal grievance with the employer.

If you need advice or support handling a personal grievance, contact McKone Consultancy.

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao on

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