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Personal grievance cases fall 22%; employers more cautious

Personal grievance cases fall 22 per cent; employers and workers more cautious

The number of personal grievance cases fell by 22 per cent last year compared to 2010, which indicates both employers and workers are being more cautious and moderate in their approach to workplace issues, says David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for the Employers & Manufacturers Association. (Click here for an analysis of the 2011 Personal Grievances cases.)

"With the labour market quite difficult, both employers and workers appear to be more careful, and possibly considerate of each other," Mr Lowe said.

"Workers know it is hard to find another job and employers are also finding it hard to attract the right calibre of person for their firm.

"The chances of winning a personal grievance are now finely balanced, with 45 per cent of employers winning their cases.

"The findings are from our annual analysis of the decisions made by the Employment Relations Authority which showed an overall decline in the number of cases and awards, but an increase in legal costs compared to previous years.

"There was a 53 per cent reduction in cases involving employees with less than 90 days service compared to 2010, which reflected the 1 April 2011 extension of the trial period law to include all businesses. There were significant reductions in the number of grievance cases for long-serving employees too.

"The national average award for hurt feelings was $4,976, lower than the 2010 average of $5,140.

"Being an EMA member boosts an employer's chances; 61 per cent of EMA employers successfully defend their actions. Getting advice from the EMA pays off!

"It now costs an employer an average $11,355 to successfully defend a personal grievance; to lose costs an average of $36,625.

"For employees, the average net amount after costs is $11,375 if they win, or a bill of $13,895 if they lose."


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