The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in Keir v Fonterra  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.
- A new partner for Anthony Harper’s property specialtyJuly 13, 2020Tim Bunker is appointed a new partner within Anthony Harper's national property team Anthony Harper is delighted to announce the appointment of Tim Bunker...
- Update: The new Privacy Act 2020July 2, 2020The new Privacy Bill, now the Privacy Act 2020 was passed into law on 30 June and comes into force on 1 December 2020. In...
- The new Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendme...June 30, 2020The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 (the Act) came into force on 27 June 2020. What is the scope of this Act?...