Intouch : Grievance Payouts Vary With Geography

Employees win different amounts of compensation for personal grievance claims depending on where they live, according to David Lowe, employment services manager for the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern).
The latest figures analysed are for calendar year 2007 and show the average award for hurt and humiliation was $5526 in Auckland, $6630 in Christchurch but $8636 in Wellington.
“Regional variations are most pronounced in relation to redundancies,” Lowe said.
“In calendar year 2007 Wellington employees were awarded an average of $14,166 compensation for these, almost double the amounts paid in Auckland ($7473) and Christchurch ($7636).”
EMA analyses the decisions of the Employment Relations Authority every year.
“The reasons for the amount of compensation awarded are not often set out in the Authority’s determination,” Lowe said, “and employers would welcome more transparency. They need to understand why the amount is what it is.
“Happily, the total number of personal grievance claims the Authority heard in 2007 was down 20 percent from the previous year.
“More employers appear to be asserting their rights in court rather than taking the often cheaper option of negotiating an out-of-court settlement. The latter option can encourage other employees to make claim to try their luck.”
Another satisfying finding, Lowe says, is that an employer’s chance of being slapped with grievance claim is dramatically decreased if he/she has sought good advice on the employment procedures they are required to follow.

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