Work place dramas are nothing new; at one point or another, the vast majority of us are bound to have some sort of issue come up at work. This could be across a wide variety of different areas, some requiring the help of legal advice and others that can be resolved simply by talking out the issue. So when is it time to call up an employment lawyer? This is something that you will have to look at on a case by case basis, depending on the type of employment dispute and the length of time it has been going on.
Before even getting into some of the more common types of employment disputes, every employee should know that when first signing your employment agreement it is helpful to talk to a lawyer. By law your employer has to give you this opportunity. Letting a lawyer cast an eye over it right away will catch any unreasonable or overly confusing terms before the fact. Once you’re in the job, some of the most common areas for employment disputes to arise are with regard to dismissal, bullying, sexual harassment and redundancy.
In the event that you feel as if attempts are being made to purposely force you out of the company in an unfair manner, talking to a lawyer is the best form of preparation for fighting against dismissal. Whether your boss has set unreasonable performance goals, is being harsh or troublesome beyond the realm of normality, or has not given you an accurate performance review due to a personal issue, a lawyer will be able to set out your best course of action for dealing with the situation.
The somewhat murky thing about bullying in a working environment is that there can be a fine line between justifiable criticism from a place of constructiveness, and outright victimisation. Where a lawyer can help is in formulating the best course of action for returning things to equilibrium, based on the options available to you in your particular situation. In these sorts of situations it is important to have a dialogue with your employer, but in some cases they may be unwilling to hear it and will only respond at the point where the law gets involved.
The loss of a job due to internal restructuring or redundancy has its own set of regulations and processes under New Zealand law. Your involvement in the decision, including a right to be notified in advance of the possibility of this happening is fundamental to the completion of due process. Not only can a lawyer help by facilitating this dialogue, but in some cases they are able to obtain information which aids you in challenging your impending redundancy.
Don’t delay in seeking out professional advice when it comes to tricky employment disputes – you’ll find it most often pays off to act sooner rather than later!