Remedies we can award
The Authority Member has the power to award a range of remedies depending on the nature of the claim. These include:
If an employee has been dismissed, we can order that they be reinstated on a temporary basis while we investigate whether the dismissal was justified. This allows them to return to work.
If we find that an employee was unjustifiably dismissed and they want to return to their job, we can order reinstatement wherever it is practicable and reasonable to do so.
If an employee has been dismissed or subject to other unjustified action by their employer, we can order their employer to reimburse them for wages lost:
- until they are reinstated, or
- until they get another job.
We can order compensation to be paid to an employee for hurt and humiliation caused by dismissal or unjustified action.
We can order:
- an employer to pay wages and holiday pay owed to an employee
- employees and employers to comply with the terms of their employment agreement or any settlement agreement
- either party to pay a penalty, if a penalty is allowed in the Employment Relations Act.
Awarding and paying costs
If you are successful in pursuing or defending a matter with the Authority, you are entitled to claim for the cost of any professional representation and for reasonable expenses you incurred.
Who must pay costs and how much they must pay is determined by the Authority Member.
Costs you can claim
You can claim the cost of:
- professional representation, and
- reasonable disbursements, for example photocopying costs, the costs of telephone calls and witness expenses.
You cannot claim for:
- the costs of professional representation if you have not used a professional representative, eg a lawyer or advocate. (If you did get advice from a lawyer or advocate at an earlier stage in preparing your case, you may make a claim for that cost.)
- your own time and trouble in preparing your case and attending the investigation meeting
- the cost of going to mediation.
How we determine who pays costs
When a determination is issued, the Authority Member can choose to:
- let costs lie were they fall – each party is responsible for paying their own costs
- award costs to the successful party – the unsuccessful party must pay the successful party's costs
- invite the parties to settle costs between themselves
- set out a timetable for each of the parties to file a submission on costs – the Authority Member will then consider the submissions and issue a cost determination.
How much could be awarded
The Authority normally awards a contribution to costs rather than full costs.
We use a notional tariff as a starting point of:
- $4,500 for the first day of an investigation meeting
- $3,500 for each additional day of investigation meeting.
This means the starting point for assessing costs for a successful party after a two day investigation meeting is $8,000 and a three day investigation meeting is $11,500.
We adjust this notional starting point to reflect the circumstances of each particular case.
Reducing costs to pay
The Authority may reduce the costs to pay to a successful party if:
- they rejected a reasonable settlement offer
- their conduct unnecessarily increased the costs of the parties
- costs were unreasonably incurred, or
- the party did not succeed on all of the claims they made.
We may reduce the costs an unsuccessful party needs to pay if they can prove that paying normal costs would cause considerable hardship. They will need to file affidavit evidence with us about their financial and personal situation.
We may increase the costs an unsuccessful party needs to pay if:
- they used arguments that had no prospect of success, or
- their conduct unnecessarily increased the costs of the successful party.
More information about costs
Practice Note 2 - Costs in the Employment Relations Authority [PDF, 148 KB]