HRM’s most read stories of 2015

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As the end of the year approaches, we’ve rounded up HRM’s most-read stories of 2015 – here are the top five:

Government announces tough new Employment Standards Bill

Back in March, the government approved new measures to strengthen the enforcement of employment standards.

The new law – which is yet to be introduced – will include tougher sanctions for the most serious breaches of employment law, clearer record keeping requirements, and increased tools for labour inspectors, among other things.

New Zealand’s most attractive employer revealed

The Department of Conservation was announced as the nation’s most attractive employer at this year’s Randstad Awards.

TVNZ – last year’s winner – was the runner up, while the New Zealand Customs Service came in as third.

Other winners included IBM, which won the Inaugural IT Sector award, and ASB, the winner of the Banking and Financial Services Sector award.

X Factor judges sacked for bullying: legal experts weigh in

Earlier this year, X Factor judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon were sacked by TV3 after the pair were accused of bullying a contestant on live television.

An episode of the talent-contest show saw Kills lash out at hopeful Joe Irvine, who she said “made her sick” because he emulated fellow judge Willy Moon – who is also her husband – “from the hair to the suit”.

Moon, meanwhile, compared Irvine to fictional murderer Norman Bates, branding the singer “creepy”.

It was reported that the decision to sack the couple was made after mounting pressure was put on TV3 by the show’s sponsors as well as its other judges.

Speaking to HRM, Laura Scampion, partner at DLA Piper and Ashleigh May, solicitor at DLA Piper explained that were health and safety impacts that the actions of those judges would have had on that contestant.

“Bullying is defined as being either related to the victim personally or related to tasks they are performing,” they said. “The X factor incident was a personal attack – it was belittling and almost ridiculing.”

Zappos loses 14% of workforce to controversial new leadership system

In March this year, Tony Hsieh, CEO of US based company Zappos, gave his workforce an ultimatum.

Workers were told that if they were not on-board with the company’s overhauled management system – which stripped away traditional management roles and titles – they had to make a decision to resign in exchange for three months’ pay.

The Washington Post reported that Zappos said it had offered the option to eligible employees so that it could fully and rapidly implement the new system.

Since the April 30 deadline passed, 210 employees – around 14% of the company’s staff – took the option to resign.

Will infamous office romp couple lose their jobs?

Two employees of Christchurch insurance company Marsh were spotted getting intimate in their office by customers in a bar across the road earlier this year, sparking questions about the fate of their jobs.

The pair were filmed and photographed by patrons in the Carlton Bar and Eatery – and the images went viral after being shared on social media.

At the time, Marsh’s CEO said the company was taking the incident seriously and that the culprits had been identified.

“We take these matters very seriously,” he said. “It's not the type of behaviour we condone.”

HRM spoke to Glen D’Cruz, then a solicitor at Corban Revell, about the employer’s next moves.

“The likely outcome is hard to determine,” D’Cruz told HRM. “Firstly, you’d have to look at the contractual agreement that governs the relationship between employer and employee. The employer will also have to consider company policies that govern behaviours of serious misconduct, as well as what is stated in both employees’ individual contracts.”

He added that the other aspect which will affect the employees’ fates is the reputation of the company and how its brand has been damaged.

D’Cruz also pointed out that a decision could take some time, as Marsh must comply with legislation.

“Irrespective of all those things, the company is still bound by the Employment Relations Act, which requires an investigation and compliance with penal processes,” he said. “They must also determine what a reasonable employer would do before making any decisions.”

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