When you phone or fill out our form, one of our consultants will assess your case. They will then assign it to the Advocate best suited to help you. Your Advocate will call you to discuss your case in depth within 24 hours (during week days).
Giving us Authority to Act
If you decide to proceed you will receive an email with our Terms of Engagement (i.e. our fees) and an Authority to Act form. You can agree to these and accept them online – there is no need to print them or sign them. Giving us Authority to Act means that our advocates* can legally speak on your behalf.
*Our advocates are not lawyers.
Once you have accepted our terms and given us Authority to Act your Advocate will get to work. This might involve supporting you in a disciplinary meeting, or negotiating an exit package, or agreeing a financial settlement with your employer. Typically, once we are involved your employer is required to deal directly with us. That takes a lot of the stress out of it for you. Most of our cases are settled at this informal stage. If there is an agreement your Advocate will have this drawn up as a legally binding document, signed by both parties and filed with the Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment. Any money to be paid to you by your employer will usually be received within 7 days.
If it proves impossible to solve the problem informally with your employer, then we may need to file for mediation for you. It can take 4-6 weeks to get a mediation date. At this stage there is a $150 + GST fee. Mediation takes place in a neutral place with an impartial mediator provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Your Advocate will be with you to present your case and you are welcome to have your say. Your employer will have their opportunity to reply. Usually the mediator will then separate the parties in to separate rooms and your Advocate will seek to negotiate a settlement. If successful, the mediator will have both parties sign off on a confidential and legally binding agreement.
If mediation is unsuccessful, or your employer refuses to attend mediation, then your Advocate will discuss with you your chances of winning in the Employment Relations Authority. The Employment Relations Authority is like an informal court. If you decide to proceed to the Employment Relations Authority your Advocate will file on your behalf. At this stage there is a $300 + GST fee. It can take several months to get a date for an Investigation Meeting. At this meeting your Advocate will support you, and any witnesses you have, through the process. At the end of the Investigation Meeting the Authority will determine whether you are successful or not. It will determine how much your employer needs to pay you if you are.