The Employment Relations Authority has ordered the respondent to pay a penalty after she breached her settlement agreement with a small oil and gas exploration company by posting an article on Facebook criticising the company and its management. The article remained on Facebook for approximately three months and was then republished on an international forum.

The settlement agreement contained a term prohibiting the respondent from speaking ill of the company and its managers. The respondent had received legal advice and had asserted that she understood the terms of the agreement.

The ERA noted that despite the respondent believing her statements to be true it did not provide her grounds of exemption from the settlement agreement.

The ERA emphasised the importance of settlement agreements for the resolution of employment disputes and stated that breaches of them are not to be tolerated.

The ERA ordered the respondent to pay a penalty of $2,000 to reflect their disapproval of her actions and to deter her from committing further breaches. The respondent was also ordered to reimburse the company over $500 for disbursements.


Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer