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Personal Grievance System Being Abused

NEWS RELEASE Thursday, March 14th, 2002

Personal Grievance System Being Abused

The Department of Work and Income needs to be more accountable for the advice it hands out to its clients who have just been dismissed from employment, says Employers & Manufacturers Association Northland Manager, Murray Broadbelt.

Mr Broadbelt says he has heard of many cases where former employees begin personal grievance cases against employers for the sole reason of getting income support from DWI.

"If an employee is dismissed from their job, there is a stand down period of up to 26 weeks before being entitled to receive income support , but if the employee initiates a personal grievance the stand down period does not apply," Mr Broadbelt said.

"I have been told of a situation where an officer of DWI has advised a dismissed employee to go back to the employer and ask for a letter saying the employee was not dismissed but left after 'reaching an amicable decision 'and stating the reason as 'unsuitability for the position'.

"The employer is being held to ransom. Either he has to lie, or risk being sued by the former employee.

"Though this probably falls short of fraud or extortion, it represents a serious abuse of the system.

"The EMA and the employer concerned in a recent case, Shalom Resthome Ltd do not want to see the former employee disadvantaged by a stupid system. They suggest the policy on stand down periods has to be changed, with each case considered on its merits.

"Suggesting to ex employees they should begin personal grievance proceedings for no good reason, or leaving situations like these open to abuse, penalises both employers and employees."

Further information: Murray Broadbelt Bus Phone: 09 - 438 4491

Mobile: 025 884 022

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