If you’ve got issues at work, it can rapidly turn a place you enjoy going to to a place that brings on sweats, panic attacks or anxiety before you step in the door every morning. Employment disputes can be incredibly costly, before you seek legal advice. We spend a lot of our days working with others, and if it become an unpleasant or tense place to be, it not only makes your life unhappy, it will reduce productivity, hurt the business’ reputation and in the end effect the profit margins.
It is sometimes tempting to ignore issues and hope they’ll go away. It’s part of the New Zealand way – to just go with a “She’ll be Right” attitude and hope everything is going to be ok. However if you’ve got employees who are not happy, or are not working the way you should, it can quickly steamroll from a small issue into one that may need a little extra help to manage.
For many of us, seeking external help to manage employment issues can feel a little unnecessary. However it’s a good idea to seek legal advice on what your rights and responsibilities are as an employer, and make sure you are not accidentally reneging on the rights of your employees. Many problems can be resolved with just a little legal clarification on both sides, or, if necessary, some mediation. If it is not resolved after that point, you will need to use a court of law to help resolve the problem. Most lawyers can help you not get to that point, provided you see them early on in the piece, and provide them with all the information they may need to look after your affairs.
Of course most issues can be resolved by looking at the original contract and checking everything is in line with that. If you’ve employed someone without a contract you are open to problems later down the track. If you want to preempt any problems, take legal advice about what should and shouldn’t be in your individual contracts, so you can avoid any preventable employment disputes.
It can become a very costly venture to fight an unfair dismissal case, or trying to talk through problems with workplace bullying and other common problems. It’s a good idea to have external help, so that you can be protected and not say anything or do anything that causes you to get into more trouble. It is easy to say something in the heat of the moment that can impact negotiations later down the track. Get help with your employment dispute before it costs you more than it should have.