Best employment advice for employees

Whether you’re just starting a new job or you've been working for the same company for a while, all employees in New Zealand have rights to protect you in the workplace. Here are our top three best pieces of employment advice for employees.

Check your employment agreement

Whatever problem you’re having at work, most of the time, your written employment agreement will set out how to resolve it. Your first step with any employment issue should be to refer back to your employment agreement. 

If you don’t have a written employment agreement, that’s a big issue. Contact us for advice on what to do next.

If you can’t find your employment agreement, your employer must have a record on file. You can ask your employer for a copy of your employment agreement at any time. If you ask, and they can’t find your employment agreement or they don’t have a copy saved, that’s another big issue and you should contact us.


Can I be dismissed without warning on a 90 Day Trial

Technically yes, but if you are on a 90 day trial and you are dismissed without warning you should seek legal advice straight away.

There are strict procedures that must be followed for 90 day trial periods to be binding in New Zealand. It’s not an automatic right for all employers and it must be done correctly. For example, does your written employment agreement:

  • Have a clause regarding a trial period?
  • Have a set date for the start and end of that trial period?
  • Comply with the Employment Relations Act 2000?

Even within a 90 day trial period there are still rules that must be followed. So even if you have been dismissed without warning, you should still seek legal advice.

Employment agreements must be signed and dated before you start work. If you turn up for your first day of work and sign the employment agreement while ‘on the job’ your 90 day trial period is invalid and cannot be enforced.


What do I do if I’m being bullied at work

Your first step is to have a look at your employment agreement or employee handbook. An employee handbook or employment agreement usually sets out the chain of command or the process to be followed in the event you’re feeling bullied. 

If you’re being bullied at work, the next step is gathering evidence. It’s not enough to say “They’ve been mean to me in the past.” To prove bullying, you need to be able to show repeated behaviour where you have been yelled at, excluded from the group, belittled or micro-managed. 

Keep a journal. Make a note of what happened, the date and the time. By keeping a log of the behavior, you can refer to specific examples. This will make arguing your case easier when you talk to your manager, boss, HR department, or the person you’re told to contact if you’re being bullied as set out in your employment agreement.

Bullying can sometimes be an issue in smaller companies, where if the person bullying you is the owner of the company and you don’t have anyone else in management you can talk to. If that’s the case, contact Lawhub today.

Your employment agreement or employee handbook should explain the process of what happens after you file a bullying complaint. You have a right to expect some sort of action to be taken, and your manager, boss or HR person should communicate with you around what’s happening and how long the process should take. If you’re not hearing back from the person in charge, if they are not taking action or not communicating when to expect results, it’s time to contact Lawhub.

If the bullying is serious, or physically violent and you fear for your safety, contact the New Zealand police on 111 if it’s happening right now, or on 105 if you are not in immediate danger. Once you have spoken to the police, contact Lawhub.


Looking after New Zealand employees

Everyone deserves to feel safe at work. If this isn’t the case, first check your employment agreement to see what it tells you to do. If you don’t have an employment agreement or you feel like they are in breach of the agreement, contact the employment lawyers at Lawhub today.