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While record keeping requirements might sound dull and technical, the Authority has made it clear that these matters are not viewed as minor failings. The reality is that employers are required by law to keep accurate documentation, and can expect to be penalised if they don’t comply. Further, where a disgruntled employee brings a wage recovery claim, in the absence of clear records, proving otherwise, the Authority may simply accept the claims.
One of the striking developments in employment law in 2015 was a trend towards former employees being ordered to pay massive damages awards and penalties to former employers, where they had breached their obligations to them.
So what are the rights of workers left out of pocket? When a company is placed into liquidation, a process of settling its outstanding debts kicks into action. A liquidator is appointed to gather together any available money and assets, and then distribute these proceeds amongst creditors.
The law sets out who gets preference – at the top of the list are secured creditors, then come preferential creditors including the liquidator, followed only then by employees. Unsecured creditors get to fight over what’s left after that, if anything.
WorkSafe Guidelines have led to an increase in consciousness amongst employees of what bullying is and is not, and in turn a rise in bullying claims.
In an increasingly digital age, employers are recognising that there is significant business value – in the form of confidential or commercially sensitive information and intellectual property – stored on their computers and other digital devices
The exclusivity of the single-employer, 9-5 work pattern is being eroded as opportunities to derive income through alternative streams and work on demand become more prevalent and attractive. Flexibility is coming, ready or not.
With effect from 6 March this year, where any employee engages in a "partial strike" - that is where they turn up to work but refuse to perform their duties fully or properly - they will have their pay docked.
“Resign or be dismissed” scenarios can, in turn, lead to claims of constructive dismissal. The law in this area is very clear – being told to resign or face being dismissed is a dismissal, because it is a sending away which occurs at the employer’s initiative. It is not a genuine or voluntary resignation as the employer has played a material part in bringing it about.
The Employment Relations Act provides that an employee and employer bargaining for an individual employment agreement must deal with each other in good faith. “Good faith” requires the parties to be “active and constructive in establishing and maintaining a productive employment relationship in which the parties are, among other things, responsive and communicative”. It also requires that the parties must not mislead or deceive each other.
Blair Scotland comments on health and safety concerns at Hamilton Zoo.