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Employment Relationship Problem Resolution Procedure

Category Human Resources
Type Procedure
Approved by Original approval unknown
Date Procedure Took Effect 1 November 2007
Last Approved Revision 1 November 2007
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible Officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration
Review Date 30 November 2014

Purpose

To provide a plain language explanation of the services available for the resolution of employment relationship problems,

Organisational Scope

The procedures apply University-wide.

Policy Content

1. Employment Relationship Problems

Employment relationship problems include such things as personal grievances, disputes about the interpretation or application of employment agreements, or other workplace issues that may harm the employment relationship, but does not include problems with the fixing of new terms and conditions of employment.

2. Raising the Problem

If you think you have a problem in your employment, then you should raise it with your Head of Department or Manager as soon as possible, so we can try and resolve it with you. If for any reason you feel unable to raise it with your Head of Department, you should approach another appropriate manager or an Adviser in Human Resources. In some cases, there is a time limit on when you have to do this - see "Personal Grievances" below.

3. Representation

At any stage, you have the right to seek advice and support from your union or a representative. We will work with you and that person to try to resolve the problem. Information may also be sought from the Department of Labour Mediation Service at any time.

4. Mediation Services

If we are unable to resolve the problem, then either party can contact the Department of Labour Mediation Service (a government department) for free assistance. The mediator will try to help us resolve the problem, but won't make a decision as to who is right or wrong unless both parties want this.

5. Employment Relations Authority

If the problem is still not resolved to your satisfaction, then you can apply to the Employment Relations Authority to have the problem investigated and a determination made. This decision can be appealed, by either party, to the Employment Court and then to the Court of Appeal.

6. Personal Grievances

If your employment problem is a personal grievance (i.e. unjustified dismissal, unjustifiable disadvantage, discrimination, duress, sexual or racial harassment), then you must raise it within 90 days of the problem actually occurring or coming to your attention for the first time. A personal grievance can only be raised outside of this timeframe with the agreement of the employer, or whether the Employment Relations Authority deems there to be exceptional circumstances.

You should raise any personal grievance with your Head of Department or Section as above. It is preferable that you put your grievance in writing, but this is not compulsory. You may ask your union or representative to raise the grievance on your behalf.

7. University of Otago Ethical Behaviour Procedure

Certain types of employment relationship problems may be able to be dealt with through the University of Otago Ethical Behaviour Policy, particularly problems involving harassment.

8 Human Rights Commission Procedures

If you believe you have a grievance based on discrimination or sexual or racial harassment an alternative procedure is available through the Human Rights Commission. However, you cannot refer your grievance to both the Human Rights Commission as a complaint and to the Employment Relations Authority as a personal grievance. You have to choose one option or the other.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration at dan.wilson@otago.ac.nz or (03) 479 8092.