Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement

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Email: employment.relations@education.govt.nz

 

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Part Eleven: Resolving Employment Relationship Problems

Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement
Effective: 1 September 2019 to 1 September 2022

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  • 11.1 Resolving Employment Relationship Problems
    • 11.1.1 Good faith requires the parties to an employment relationship to be active and constructive in establishing and maintaining a productive employment relationship in which the parties are, among other things, responsive and communicative.

      11.1.2 If the employment relationship is to be as successful as possible, it is important that the board and principal deal effectively with any problems that may arise.

      11.1.3 The principal and board will use reasonable effort to resolve employment problems as quickly and as close to the source of the matter as possible.

      This procedure sets out information on how problems can be raised and worked through.

  • 11.3 Clarify the problem
    • 11.3.1 If either the board or the principal (the parties) feels that there may be a problem in the employment relationship, the first step is to check the facts and make sure there really is a problem, and not simply a misunderstanding.

      11.3.2 Either party might want to discuss a situation with someone else to clarify whether a problem exists, but in doing so they should take care to respect the privacy of others and to protect confidential information belonging to the board. For example:

      11.3.2.1 The principal could seek information or support from:

        • Their union
        • Friends and family
        • A lawyer or an employment relations consultant.

      11.3.2.2 The board could seek information or support from:

        • The New Zealand School Trustees Association Industrial Advisory Service
        • A lawyer or an employment relations consultant.

      11.3.2.3 Either party could seek information or support from:

  • 11.4 Discuss the problem
    • 11.4.1 If either party considers that there is a problem, it should be raised as soon as possible. This can be done in writing or verbally.  A meeting will usually then be arranged where the problem can be discussed. The principal should feel free to bring a support person with them to the meeting if they wish.

      11.4.2 The parties will then try to establish the facts of the problem and discuss possible solutions.

  • 11.5 The Next Steps
    • 11.5.1 If the parties are not able to resolve the problem by talking to each other, a number of options exist:

      11.5.1.1 Either party can contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), who can provide information and/or refer the parties to mediation.

      11.5.1.2 Either party can take part in mediation provided by MBIE (or the parties can agree to get an independent mediator).

      11.5.1.3 If the parties reach agreement, a mediator provided by the MBIE can sign the agreed settlement, which will then be binding on the parties.

      11.5.1.4 The parties can both agree to have the mediator provided by the MBIE decide the problem, in which case that decision will be binding.

      11.5.1.5 If mediation does not resolve the problem, either party can refer the problem to the Employment Relations Authority for investigation.

      11.5.1.6 The Employment Relations Authority can direct the parties to mediation, or can investigate the problem and issue a determination.

      11.5.1.7 If one or other of the parties is not happy with the Employment Relations Authority's determination, they can refer the problem to the Employment Court.

      11.5.2 In limited cases, there is a right to appeal a decision of the Employment Court to the Court of Appeal.

  • 11.6 Personal Grievances
    • 11.6.1 Where the principal wishes to raise a personal grievance with the board the provisions of sections 102 to 128 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 apply. In summary, the principal must raise the grievance with the employer within 90 days.  The 90 day period begins on the latter of either:

        1. The date on which the action alleged to amount to a personal grievance occurred;
        2. The date on which the action alleged to amount to a personal grievance came to the principal's attention.

      11.6.2 Section 114 of the Employment Relations Act allows that where the principal wishes to submit a personal grievance to the board after the 90 days has elapsed the consent of the board is required. If the board does not consent to such a request when made, the principal may seek a ruling from the Employment Relations Authority about whether the submission is allowed outside the 90 days.  The Employment Relations Authority may allow a late submission if it finds that there are exceptional circumstances (as defined in the Employment Relations Act 2000) and it considers it just to do so.

      11.6.3 In accordance with section 103 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 the term personal grievance means any claim that an employee may have against the employer or former employer because of a claim:

        1. that the employee has been unjustifiably dismissed; or
        2. that the employee's employment, or 1 or more conditions of the employee's employment (including any condition that survives termination of the employment), is or are or was (during employment that has since been terminated) affected to the employee's disadvantage by some unjustifiable action by the employer; or
        3. that the employee has been discriminated against in the employee's employment; or
        4. that the employee has been sexually harassed in the employee's employment; or
        5. that the employee has been racially harassed in the employee's employment; or
        6. that the employee has been subject to duress in the employee's employment in relation to membership or non-membership of a union or employees organisation; or
        7. that the employee’s employer has failed to comply with a requirement of Part 6A; or
        8. that the employee has been disadvantaged by the employee’s employment agreement not being in accordance with section 67C, 67D, 67G, or 67H; or
        9. that the employee’s employer has contravened section 67F or 67G(4).
        10. that they employee’s employer has, in relation to the employee;
            1. engaged in adverse conduct for a prohibited health and safety reason; or
            2. contravened section 92 or the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (which prohibits coercion or inducement).

      These and other provisions relating to personal grievances are contained in Part 9 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and can be accessed through the following link: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM60316.html.

      11.6.4 The terms discrimination, sexual harassment, racial harassment, and duress as used in this agreement have the meanings given to them by sections 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, and 110 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and are neither limited nor extended by their use in this agreement.

      11.6.5 In terms of section 112 of the Employment Relations Act, if the principal has a personal grievance claim that entitled the principal to make a complaint under the Human Rights Act 1993, the principal may, if the matter is not otherwise resolved (for example through mediation or discussion) either:

        1. Apply to the Employment Relations Authority for resolution of the grievance; or
        2. Make, in relation to those circumstances, a complaint under the Human Rights Act 1993.

      11.6.7 The principal may take one of the steps outlined in 11.6.5 but not both. For the purposes of 11.6.5 (b) above, the principal has made a complaint when the Complaints Division referred to in section 12(1) of the Human Rights Act 1993 accepts the complaint for investigation or conciliation.