The Employment Relations Act 2000 requires employees and employers to deal with each other in “good faith”. 

What does good faith mean?

Parties must not act in a misleading or deceptive way in their dealings with each other.  The employer must also discuss with the employee before making a decision which may negatively impact on the employee’s job.  The employer must give the employee an opportunity to comment and get advice, or have a support person, (for instance if there is a disciplinary or performance review process in place).  Good faith also requires the parties treat each other fairly including:

  • being honest and open,
  • raising any issues early,
  • being constructive and positive towards each other,
  • being open minded about issues and particular solutions, and
  • treating each other with respect.

Employees have a duty to raise any issues they are having at work early, so that the parties can work together to resolve the issues.

If an employee fails to raise issues it may make things worse.

Where an employer does not follow the rules of good faith, an employee may raise a personal grievance against the employer.

The Employment Relations Authority or Employment Court can also award a penalty against an employer who breached the duty of good faith.

Jaenine Badenhorst
Employment Lawyer
Wellington