If an employee has been unlawfully discriminated against before they have commenced employment, they can make a complaint under the Human Rights Act to the Human Rights Commission.
If an employee has been unlawfully discriminated against after they commence employment, they may raise a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act or make a complaint under the Human Rights Act; however they cannot pursue both.
Employment relationship problem resolution system
If an employment relationship problem arises it is important that the employee and employer talk to each other to discuss any issues and try to resolve the problem.
To help resolve the problem, the employee or employer may contact the Department of Labour Contact Centre on 0800 20 90 20. The Contact Centre provides information on employment issues.
If an employee believes they have a personal grievance, they must raise the grievance with their employer within 90 days of the action or the date they became aware of it, whichever is the later.
If the problem is not resolved, the parties may request mediation. Mediation is an informal process where parties, with the assistance of a mediator, talk through the issues and reach a solution that they are both happy with. It is a free, fast and confidential service. The mediation services can be reached through the Department’s Contact Centre.
If the problem is still not resolved, the dispute can be referred to the Employment Relations Authority for a decision. The Authority is an investigative body that looks into the facts and makes decisions based on merits of the case, not on legal technicalities. There is an application fee to pay when lodging an application with the Employment Relations Authority.
See our resolving employment relationship problems section for more information.
Human Rights Commission disputes resolution service
The Human Rights Commission provides a dispute resolution service to reach fair and effective resolutions at the earliest possible opportunity. The dispute resolution process is private and confidential to those involved. This means that statements made as part of mediation cannot be used for any other purpose. The process is impartial and considers both sides of the dispute. You do not need legal representation when you take part in this process, but you have the right to legal advice if you choose. A mediator will assist throughout the process by giving information about the Human Rights Act, examples of relevant settlements and possible solutions.
If mediation doesn’t resolve the dispute, you may take the dispute to the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings or directly to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
For more information please contact the Human Rights Commission on 0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS (0800 496 877), email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on the website www.hrc.co.nz.