Deliberation and determination
After the investigation meeting and taking into account any final submissions, the Authority member will consider the evidence and make a decision. This is called a determination.
The determination is issued in writing. An Authority member may make an oral determinations or give an oral indication of the likely determination at the end of an investigation meeting, followed by a written determination. Oral determinations and oral indications are increasingly likely, especially from early 2015 onwards.
A determination of the Employment Relations Authority is legally binding. It is issued to both parties or their representatives. It is a public document and copies of past determinations and summaries of employment law cases will be published on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) employment law database.
The Authority member has the power to award a range of remedies depending on the nature of the claim. These include:
- interim reinstatement
- reimbursement of lost wages
If an employee has been dismissed, the Authority can order that they be re-instated on a temporary basis while the Authority investigates whether the dismissal was justified. This allows them to return to work.
If the Authority or Court finds an employee was unjustifiably dismissed they must order reinstatement if the employee wants to return to their job wherever it is practicable and reasonable to do so.
If an employee has been dismissed or subject to other unjustified action by their employer, they may get reimbursement for wages lost. This may cover either the time until they are reinstated or until they get another job.
The Authority may order compensation to be paid to an employee for hurt and humiliation caused by dismissal or unjustified action.
The Authority may 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
- one or other party to pay a penalty if one is allowed in the Employment Relations Act.
If the parties cannot agree who pays costs, the Authority may order one party to contribute to the costs incurred by the other party when preparing for the investigation meeting, or decide that each party is responsible for meeting all of their own costs.
Compensation and costs awards tables
Tables setting out the levels of costs and compensation awarded by the Employment Relations Authority under the Employment Relations Act are available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.