Personal Grievance Remedies – Compensation Increasing

Employment Law / 23 May 2024
Personal Grievance Remedies – Compensation Increasing

Personal grievance claim remedies are increasing, with a notable shift in the number of awards of $25,000 and over as compensation for hurt and humiliation (injury to feelings and distress) by the Employment Relations Authority in 2023, as shown in the table below

Compensation Award Table:

Amount of Award ($)                         2023                                           2022
1 – 4,999                                                    7                                               27
5,000 – 8,999                                          37                                               54
9,000 – 13,999                                        36                                               47
14,000 – 18,999                                      54                                               46
19,000 – 24,999                                      31                                               35
25,000 +                                                 35                                               11

In a recent 2023 decision, the Employment Court updated the quantum of the bands that guides compensation awards for personal grievances as follows:

  • Band 1: (low-level loss or damage): Up to $12,000 (previously up to $10,000)
  • Band 2: (mid-range loss or damage): $12,000 – $50,000 (previously $10,000 – $40,000)
  • Band 3: (high-level loss or damage): over $50,000 (previously over $40,000)

A record award of remedies was ordered by the Employment Court last year, totalling $1.79 million for successful personal grievance claimants against a School, in a case where the School had breached health and safety duties resulting in significant harm to the pair, who were Guidance Counsellors.

And, an award by the Employment Relations Authority this year of over $100,000 total for hurt and humiliation, made up of two disadvantage personal grievance claims and one constructive dismissal claims.

The issue of remedies in the employment area has long been a hot topic, especially with rising inflation, with awards not keeping pace with this, and with claimants progressing to the Human Rights Review Tribunal being awarded significantly higher amounts as compensation, in similar circumstances of emotional harm.

Message for Employers

What this means for employers is that the financial risk of claims has increased, getting it right with your employees is more important now more than ever.  This means taking appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of claims, including by ensuring legal obligations around fair process are met is more important than ever to avoid hefty costs.

It also means that employees’ expectations of settlement of claims are increasing, and taking a strategic approach to resolving matters raised is crucial.

If you need support in dealing with an employee, our team can assist in ensuring you are getting it right from the start.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

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