A person may represent themselves when a matter goes before the Employment Relations Authority (“the ERA”).  However, both parties, an employer and an employee, are entitled to ask someone for help.

The ERA member presiding over the matter will ensure that the process is run fairly regardless of whether a party has representation. This means that a person will not be at a disadvantage if he or she chooses not to have a representative present.

If a party chooses to have a representative, it may be any person or an organisation, including a union, employer’s association, a lawyer, an employment relations advocate, a family member or a friend.  Members of the public may attend an ERA investigation meeting unless excluded by a member. 

It is often useful to have a representative present, if the representative has expertise in employment law, or experience in the employment relations area. A representative can help by providing:

  • Advice on an employment dispute;
  • Assistance in preparing for the investigation meeting; and
  • Representation at the investigation meeting with the ERA member.

The ERA cannot provide legal advice to either party, and to ensure a fair and impartial process the ERA member will not discuss the matter without the other party or their representative present.

Representation by a professional is an added expense. However, it maximises the possibility of a successful outcome. The ERA member may order the unsuccessful party to help contribute towards the successful party’s legal costs.

Find out more about Investigation meetings.