Search
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Filter by Custom Post Type
Search in pages
Team
Search in posts
Specialties
Fields

An employer must be “active and communicative” when consulting with employees about redeployment opportunities

December 16, 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in Keir v Fonterra [2019] NZERA 676 recently ruled that Fonterra fell short of expectation when it came to how it dealt with offering redeployment opportunities to the applicant, Mr Keir.

Once the decision to disestablish his role was reached, the ERA held that Fonterra failed to communicate in a timely manner that:

  • The co-operative would avoid Mr Keir being financially disadvantaged;
  • There was the possibility of grandfathering conditions to take into account his current salary; and
  • The consideration of redeployment could continue for an extended period.

Mr Keir was left thinking that any of the redeployment options put to him would mean a substantial drop in his salary.

This was to his disadvantage in a situation where he had indicated he was looking at external options and had not been informed that taking an external role would mean he would not receive redundancy compensation.  

The ERA’s determination held that merely presenting an employee with redeployment opportunities was not sufficient. Employers must act fairly and with good faith when engaging employees about redeployment. Communication, as held by the ERA, is key to upholding this good faith.

Employers could face costly ramifications if it is found that they have failed to be sufficiently communicative about redeployment opportunities, causing their employee to be disadvantaged. In this case, Mr Keir had been a long serving employee, who wanted to stay with Fonterra if at all possible. There was evidence presented that the actions of Fonterra had had a significant impact on the employee.   The ERA ordered Fonterra to pay $25,000 for unjustifiably disadvantaging Mr Keir as well as a portion of his redundancy compensation.

 

 

  • APL 500 rankings
    January 20, 2020
    The 2020 Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide's rankings and recommendations were released in January and Anthony Harper is proud to be represented across our specialty...
  • New promotions in the firm
    January 16, 2020
    Anthony Harper is very pleased to announce a number of new promotions. "In 2019 we won Employer of Choice at the New Zealand Law Award,...
  • Construction Procurement Rules
    December 17, 2019
    This article was published in the December/January edition of New Zealand Construction News. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment recently released new Government Procurement...