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Personal grievances cost employers $550,000

Media Release Tuesday, October 9th, 2001

Personal grievances cost employers $550,000 in ERA's first nine months

Personal grievance claims heard by the new Employment Relations Authority in its first nine months have resulted in payments by employers totaling $554,721, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

The Authority's first 72 personal grievance claims have averaged $7700 a time, said Peter Tritt, EMA's Manager of Advisory Services.

"The amounts paid are the sum of lost wages, awards for hurt and humiliation, and compensation for benefits employees may have lost as a result of their grievances. Settlements for costs are an added cost not usually made public.

"Averaging figures of this sort doesn't mean much as the awards made by the Authority depend very much on the circumstances of particular cases. Compensation payments ranged up to $15,000 for hurt and humiliation alone, to which is usually added lost wages and other employee benefits.

"These amounts give employers an indication of how much a personal grievance is likely to cost if they do not follow the correct legal procedures.

"Personal grievances come in three categories according to their origins: redundancy, dismissal, and unjustified action by an employer which disadvantages an employee.

"From our analysis covering 37 cases heard by the Authority in Auckland, 18 in Wellington and 17 in Christchurch, it seems personal grievances attract higher pay outs the further south you work.

"Our figures don't include cases where employers may have established they had no case to answer, or where they were in fact awarded payments by employees to them."

Comments: Peter Tritt tel 09 367 0921 (b)

09 845 5532 (h)

025 796 807

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