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# 1312362 26-May-2015 22:56
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My workplace introduced new employment contracts last year after a takeover.  For terms of the newer contract were more restrictive in some areas, some needed tweaking to be compliant with NZ employment law, mainly around restraint of trade after leaving.  HR very adamant that must be signed and negotiated individually, however the employees mostly grouped together and chipped in for an employment lawyer to go over the contract.  Most of the things were still legal according to NZ employment law, and only a few changes were made in the end.

One take-away from the employment lawyer review was that negotiations needed to be 'in good faith', which sounds reasonable but is very hard to prove.  Also that we were not legally obliged to sign a new employment contract, in my case some people are still on their existing contract.

You have a much better chance of negotiating some of the clauses if most of the staff agree to join.  The review of the contract by employment lawyer less than $2000, cost shared between about ten people.



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  # 1312368 26-May-2015 23:25
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Thanks jonb, that's the kind of 'real life experience' I was hoping to hear when posting.

I'm not posting on a tech forum for legal (or medical!) advise, but very few situations in life are a first for everyone, so learning from others experience is a key step in life development, especially if the "others" are happy to share like they do here 😃

 
 
 
 


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  # 1312430 27-May-2015 06:58
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many years ago when I was a teenager working at foodtown, the changed the law about selling alcohol to minors and asked all staff to sign a document saying the staff would be responsible for paying the fine.  I refused to sign it, they asked why, i said "because i don't want to pay the fine".  They couldn't do anything about it, so it just went away.

sort of a different situation, i was just a kid on minimum wage, but same principal.  

BTR

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  # 1312449 27-May-2015 08:35
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I am guessing you are a teacher?? Are you not in some kind of union? If not it might be a good time to join, also are they pushing this document out to other staff or just yourself?

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  # 1312452 27-May-2015 08:41
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PhantomNVD: Small private school, and open to all suggestions here (including paying lawyer) but keen to resolve this in a low key way (future opportunities as mentioned by tdgeek above) and preferably low cost (as I'm not defending myself from a wrongdoing, just protecting myself from 'bullying'?)
Thanks again, one and all!

I'd suggest putting your concerns (especially around the legal loopholes) in writing, and address that letter to the board chairperson. Ask them if they are aware of the issues that are concerning you; and would they be prepared to discuss them.  Assuming that you'd be happy to work WITH them in order to HELP make the document better for BOTH SIDES of the agreement, then say that, too.

Any reasonable School Board should be open to receiving feedback from the school staff; and they may simply be unaware of the loopholes they've created - unless one of the Board Members is an Employment Lawyer, and unless the Board itself has taken legal advice on what they've drafted; then it's entirely probable they haven't considered how the document could be legally interpreted.  

Disclaimer: I'm on a School Board; and I'd personally be very happy to take constructive feedback from staff around this sort of issue.

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  # 1312465 27-May-2015 09:03
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SATTV: Rather than a lawyer, you might like to try getting advise from a HR consultant. Will be a lot cheaper, you will get good advise but this does not replace the advise from a lawyer.

John


Or even better, you should get advice from an employment lawyer.  I have had dealings with Garry Pollak who is an employment lawyer specialists, he is great.  Also you can book in for a phone session at a fixed rate.  I am sure an email and a phone call with Garry will set you straight.






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  # 1312527 27-May-2015 10:29
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All I can say is that were it me, my lawyer's advice would already be on my desk.

$250 is a week's shopping in Countdown - seems cheap for  something that could save so much trouble.





 
 
 
 


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  # 1312597 27-May-2015 11:17
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PhantomNVD: Small private school, and open to all suggestions here (including paying lawyer) but keen to resolve this in a low key way ... and preferably low cost ...


My father was the headmaster of a small private school.
In my experience, small private schools are not generous to their staff, and discourage union membership.

Get a lawyer.




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  # 1312697 27-May-2015 13:21
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As suggested above, if it's all staff why not all get together and all chip in for an employment lawyer? Make it all a lot cheaper and sort it out properly.




Keep calm, and carry on posting.

 

 

 

Click to see full size Click to see full size


BTR

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  # 1312778 27-May-2015 14:33
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PhantomNVD: Small private school, and open to all suggestions here (including paying lawyer) but keen to resolve this in a low key way (future opportunities as mentioned by tdgeek above) and preferably low cost (as I'm not defending myself from a wrongdoing, just protecting myself from 'bullying'?)

Thanks again, one and all!



Is it an independent school if so maybe get in contact with the ISEA.

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  # 1312816 27-May-2015 15:19
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It does seem strange that an employer can update the details of an agreement like that - I think definately get some professional advice.




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  # 1312834 27-May-2015 15:31
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cyberhub:
SATTV: Rather than a lawyer, you might like to try getting advise from a HR consultant. Will be a lot cheaper, you will get good advise but this does not replace the advise from a lawyer.

John


Or even better, you should get advice from an employment lawyer.  I have had dealings with Garry Pollak who is an employment lawyer specialists, he is great.  Also you can book in for a phone session at a fixed rate.  I am sure an email and a phone call with Garry will set you straight.


Gotta agree here. If you're not going to sign it - fine. I don't see how they can make you sign anything under duress. It sounds like all the contract benefits the employer a lot more than you. 

But if you do end up signing it, make sure you talk to an employment lawyer first. Not a regular lawyer - one who specialises in employment. There is a lot of dirty maneuvering within the law that employers do. Stuff which a regular lawyer may not necessarily be familiar with. 

Engaging a lawyer doesn't have to come across as picking a fight with your employer. It doesn't have to be "You'll be hearing from my lawyer!" type of stuff. You can just visit a lawyer on the sly, have him look at the contract and see what he thinks.


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