Chris has been counsel in over 120 decisions of the specialist employment institutions (Tribunal, Authority and Employment Court) as well as counsel in a number of employment or employment related cases that have been heard in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Chris has acted as lead counsel in a number of landmark decisions of the Employment Court, but has also been successful in settling over a thousand employment relationship problems without the need of a determination from the Authority or Court.
Employment law is a complex area which affects almost every individual at some stage in their life. In New Zealand employment law is governed by more than 18 individual statutes and numerous regulations. The common law also plays a key role in defining rights and entitlements provided in the various statutes in broad terms, particularly in respect of personal grievances involving unjustified dismissals or unjustified disadvantages.
Employment matters cover both contentious and non-contentious issues.
Contentious issues include a wide range of employment disputes such as personal grievance claims, the legality of strikes and lockouts under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and claims under other legislation (e.g. the Holidays Act, Human Rights Act, Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act, and the Privacy Act) as well as claims under contract, torts or at common law (e.g. breach of terms under employment agreements, breach of confidentiality/ misuse of confidential information, or breach of fiduciary duty).
Non-contentious issues make up the bulk of employment law work and provide opportunities for Chris and his team to build relationships with their clients and really add value to their clients’ businesses. Non-contentious issues include drafting of collective and individual employment agreements and company policies, ensuring compliance with such policies including health and safety and human rights law, and assisting clients with investigative and disciplinary processes, and restructuring/redundancy processes. Chris and his team also provide advice to their clients on a range of day-to-day issues that arise in all employment relationships.
Reducing and eliminating the risk of liability in employment disputes involves a consultative approach, an adherence to compliance and good communication from the outset of all employment relationships. There are a number of express and implied obligations imposed on all parties to employment relationships and managing this area of law requires not only extensive knowledge, but also real world experience.
Chris and his team have experience acting for both large and small employers, as well as employees from all walks of life, and aim to provide not only legal but also practical advice in a prompt and efficient manner.