Following an investigation meeting in the Employment Relations Authority (“the ERA”), the ERA member will either make an oral indication of the outcome or take time to consider the evidence. A written decision, known as a determination, will be issued to both parties. A determination is legally binding and enforceable.

The ERA has the power to award a wide range of remedies. These are likely the remedies which the parties sought in their Statement of Problem or Statement in Reply. However, the ERA has the power to award the remedies it thinks fit. These remedies include:

  • Interim reinstatement — if the employee has been dismissed, he or she can be allowed to return to work temporarily while the ERA determines whether permanent reinstatement is appropriate.
  • Permanent reinstatement — if an employee has been unjustifiably dismissed, he or she may be reinstated. However, this only occurs if the employee would like to return to employment and it is feasible to do so.
  • Reimbursement of wages — if an employee has lost wages as a result of some action by the employer, he or she may be entitled to reimbursement for wages. This can be for a specific period of time, for example, the period between dismissal and the determination, or until he or she gains new employment.
  • Compensation — an employee may receive compensation if he or she has suffered hurt or humiliation caused by the employer.
  • Costs — the ERA may order that one party is to contribute to the other party’s legal costs incurred in preparing and attending the investigation meeting.

If a party is dissatisfied with the result of a determination, he or she can file a challenge in the Employment Court. This could be a challenge to the whole of the determination or based on a particular point of law or fact. It is not possible to file a challenge based on the procedure of the investigation meeting.

While the process of filing a challenge is similar to an application to the ERA, it is not the same. It is best if a person seeking to do so has professional advice from a lawyer.

Do you need representation in the ERA?

Find out more about an investigation meeting.