Before a dispute between an employer and an employee in the Employment Relations Authority (“the ERA”) can be resolved the issues must be clarified. 

The ERA member presiding over the matter may ask the parties to clarify any points in their Statement of Problem or Statement of Reply. The member may also ask for more evidence or information from a third party. 

The usual process is for a Case Management Conference to take place. This is typically done by phone and is fairly brief and informal. Both parties or their representatives will be present as well as the ERA member. At the case management conference the member will ensure:

  • The issues that need to be resolved are clear;
  • Consider whether mediation is necessary (if it has not already occurred);
  • Provide details of people that are required to provide evidence;
  • Provide information about the investigation meeting and the process;
  • Set a time and date for the investigation meeting.

Once these preliminary matters have been resolved, the process can proceed to the investigation meeting. 

At the investigation meeting, the ERA member will be in charge of the process, and ensure that the investigation is conducted fairly. The member will make introductions and outline how the meeting will proceed. This will involve determining the order that the parties will speak and any witnesses who will give evidence. Members of the public may attend the investigation meetings. 

The ERA member will ask questions of the parties about the information and facts contained in his or her Statement of Problem or Statement in Reply. If a third party has provided a witness statement then he or she will be required to attend the investigation meeting. All parties will be asked to swear that the information provided is true and correct.

At the conclusion of the investigation meeting, either of the parties or their representatives may summarise their arguments and the relevant law. This may happen orally, or by written submissions, depending on what the member directs.

The ERA member may indicate the outcome verbally or he or she will take time to consider the evidence. The ERA will then release a written decision, called a determination, detailing the result of the dispute. All ERA decisions are published, and available to the public.

How to lodge an application in the ERA.

Do you need representation for an investigation meeting?

Find out more about determinations of the ERA.