Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Lawyers warn against new jobs with small firms

Lawyers warn against new jobs with small firms


December 12, 2008

A group of leading employment lawyers is now advising people not to take jobs in small companies in the wake of the passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Act this morning.

The lawyers - Helen White, Simon Mitchell and Greg Lloyd, who all have extensive experience in representing employees - say that anyone who can't afford to lose their job should not accept one with a small company, especially if they are already in secure jobs.

In a statement issued today, the lawyers say that the new act exposes everyone who starts a new job in a company where there are fewer than 20 employees to the risk of being sacked without even being told the reason, let alone having any ability to do anything about it.

They are calling on Parliament to urgently review the law.

Ends - statement follows


Statement on the Employment Relations Amendment Act

We are employment lawyers with extensive experience in working with employees. We are issuing this statement because of our deep concern about the provisions of the Employment Relations Act Amendment Bill, and particularly the way in which is has been rushed into law.

As a consequence of the rush there are fish-hooks in the act which could seriously damage the interests of ordinary working people. This is of particular concern because those working in small businesses often don't have unions or legal advice to help.

These are the type of people whom we frequently represent, and our experience in this area leads us to the conclusion that this new law will have serious consequences for many of them.

For example, think about a hairdresser who is so good at the job that he/she is attracting all the customers from a nearby competitor. Under these new provisions, a rival salon could poach the hairdresser with promises of more money. Two weeks' later the hairdresser is sacked - as allowed under the law. It turns out that the new employer's real intention was to damage a rival's business and used the hairdresser as a pawn.

The situation could be even worse if, as is not uncommon in the hairdressing industry, the worker - enticed by the prospect of more money - has signed a restraint-of-trade clause which prevents him or her from working for another salon within, say a 5km radius for six months. (Restraints of trade are lawful if limited time and geographical area so they are reasonable).

The hairdresser is left in the position of not being able to go back to the old job, and unable to get a new job in the same area, and yet has no come-back on the employer who set him or her up. Because the legislative change has been rushed, through no-one has turned their mind to avoiding this kind of exploitation.

Further, we consider the legislation will expose working people to discrimination. It is nonsense to say that you can be protected against discrimination but you have no legal recourse to challenge the way that discrimination has manifest itself; if you are not told why you've been dismissed, how can you challenge it as discrimination?

If, for example, the hairdresser joins a union in the first 90 days, or even opts to join the on-site collective agreement, which is his or her right in the first 30 days on the job, what will stop her new employer sacking her to avoid employing unionised staff and just not telling her why?

We therefore recommend that:

* Parliament urgently review these unforeseen consequences of the provisions of the Employment Relations Act Amendment Act.

We advise workers:

* Not to accept a position with a company of fewer than 20 employees if they can't afford to lose the job.

* Anyone who must take such a job, consult your union or a lawyer before signing the employment agreement.

* Do not sign any form of restraint of trade which applies in the first 90 days.

Simon Mitchell (Unity Chambers)

Greg Lloyd (National Distribution Union)

Helen White (Unity Chambers)

December 12, 2008

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ability to pick winners. Others would have looked at the dying remnants of the old Act Party and written it off. Yet National needed an MMP partner and it saw the potential where no-one else did. And so it re-grew the Act Party in a petri dish in Epsom, and carefully nurtured it back to life... More>>

 

Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>

ALSO:


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>

ALSO:

Poll: Labour On 46%, National 31%, While Greens And ACT Both On 8%

Tonight's political poll puts Labour on 46 percent and National on 31 percent with just one day remaining until election day. More>>

ALSO:


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>

ALSO:

Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels