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Personal Grievance Trends

Posted on 21 November 2011

The Employers Chamber of Commerce Central held a Member Briefing in Wellington last week.

They presented findings from the annual analysis of the decisions made in 2010 by the Employment Relations Authority.  It was interesting to learn that:

  • The number of personal grievances overall has slightly grown compared to 2009, with a 59% success rate for employees and 41% for employers.
  • The change in average hurt and humiliation award compared to 2009 has increased significantly in Auckland but overall has grown at a moderate rate.
  • On average, it cost an employer slightly less than an employee to win a personal grievance claim.  However, it cost an employer approximately 2.5 times that of an employee to lose a personal grievance claim.

Successful Claims by Location 

  Number of claims compared to 2009 2010
Auckland No change 166 in favour of employees out of 309 claims (54%)
Wellington -10% 65 in favour of employees out of 104 claims (62%)
Christchurch +15% 115 in favour of employees out of 178 claims (65%)
National +2% 346 in favour of employees out of 591 claims (59%)

Hurt and Humiliation Awards by Location

Average hurt and humiliation award
Auckland $6,028 (+27%)
Wellington $5,161 (-22%)
Christchurch $4,918 (-5%)
National $5,543 (+8%)

Average Employer Costs

TO WIN $   


Hurt feelings 0   Hurt feelings     5,543
Lost wages 0   Lost wages     11,152
Legal fees 14,419   Legal fees    14,419
Costs awarded 4,539   Costs awarded   3,297
TOTAL 9,880   TOTAL 34,411

Average Employee Costs

Hurt feelings 5,543   Hurt feelings 0
Lost wages 11,152   Lost wages 0
Legal fees -8,969   Legal fees 8,969
Costs awarded 3,297   Costs awarded 4,539
TOTAL 11,023   TOTAL 13,508

The numbers highlight that employers can benefit from seeking professional advice about staffing situations relating to restructuring and performance issues.  This will ensure fair and reasonable processes are being followed, legal obligations are being met and will help minimise the risk of employees feeling aggrieved by their employer’s actions.

Tags: Facts & Figures Employment Relations

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