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Restructurings are an unfortunate reality of the modern world. Employers may find themselves having to make decisions that will not go down well with their employees and may impact on their livelihood.
The starting point is that before any employer embarks upon drug testing, it needs to be clear about what the purpose of the testing is, and what will constitute a positive test.
Short of an employee having a contractual right to a specific workspace or arrangement, an employer can generally reconfigure its office and working spaces as it sees fit and without issue.
John Key, not being an employee, was free to give as much or as little notice as he wanted of his resignation. Employees do not have this same luxury, so should be warned.
It is one thing to have a strong legal claim as an employee, but it can be quite another trying to get what is due to you. Especially so when the legal entity that is or was the employer shuts up shop and leaves nothing but an empty shell.
With many schools and businesses closing as a result of the earthquake, and Wellington's CBD generally off limits, there are also employment related impacts that will naturally raise a number of questions for employers and employees.
The increased financial penalties for breaches of the health and safety legislation are intended to deter non-compliance and risk-taking. However, they are just one aspect of deterrence and it is tragedies like the accident at Dreamworld which highlight the true and immeasurable cost of things going wrong. Employers and other duty holders should need no more incentive than that in order to comply with their health and safety obligations.
There are a number of limited exceptions provided for in the Act that allow an employer to lawfully treat employees or prospective employees differently on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. These exceptions include situations involving national security, where a position that is limited to one sex is for the purposes of an organised religion, and the ability to take into account a person’s political opinions when considering them for a role that is political in nature.
A new employer who knowingly hires an employee in breach of a restraint of trade clause can find themselves being sued for facilitating a breach of an employment agreement.
Any investigation undertaken by an employer needs to be procedurally fair and must accord with natural justice. However, investigations will not all take the same form and will vary depending on the circumstances and the nature of the issues under investigation.