How a representative can help

A representative may help by:

  • giving advice on your employment problem
  • helping you prepare for an investigation in the Employment Relations Authority
  • representing you in meetings with the Authority Member.

Who can represent you

You can choose to be represented by:

  • a union
  • an employers' association
  • a lawyer, either through a law firm or a community law office
  • an employment advocate
  • a family member
  • a friend.

Whoever you choose, you must be able to show that you've authorised them to represent you – we recommend a written agreement.

Choosing to represent yourself

You do not need to have a representative if you want to represent yourself.

The Authority Member has an investigative role, which means that they are usually the person who is asking most of the questions – but you will need to answer questions about your claims and evidence at the investigation meeting and case management conference.

The Authority Member will make sure you are not disadvantaged if you choose not to have a representative.

Getting advice or assistance from us

You will need to get your own legal advice. The Authority Officer can help you understand the Authority process, but they cannot:

  • give you legal advice
  • tell you whether or not you have a good case
  • tell you what the outcome of your case might be
  • make a recommendation on who can represent you.

For example, they can tell you how to lodge a Statement of Problem with the Authority but they cannot advise you about what claims you should make.

You cannot have any private communications with an Authority Member – all the information you give to the Authority is automatically passed on to the other parties, and may also be provided to witnesses. You will only be able to speak to an Authority Member when both sides have an opportunity to be present for the discussion – for example, during the case management conference and investigation meeting.

Other help and advice you may need

Employment advice

MBIE has a free helpline that can provide you with employment advice. Call the Employment Service Centre on 0800 20 90 20 for information on your rights.

You can also contact the Labour Inspector if you believe there is a company-wide issue with:

  • breaches of minimum code legislation
  • ongoing underpayment of wages
  • unlawful deductions being made from employees’ pay.

The Labour Inspectorate is completely separate from the Employment Relations Authority.

Labour Inspectorate – Employment NZ(external link)

Free legal assistance

If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, you may be able to get free legal assistance from a Community Law Centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Community Law(external link)

Citizens Advice Bureau(external link)

If you have a disability or health or security concerns

Please advise the Authority Officer as soon as possible so we can help you.

If English is not your first language

We can provide you with an interpreter for the case management conference, telephone conference and the investigation meeting.

This is free.