The procedure of dismissing an employee is complex, and making a mistake can mean serious and costly litigation. It is strongly recommended that the board should contact an NZSTA employment adviser before taking any action that could lead to dismissal. Policies around dismissal are further discussed in the complaints and disciplinary policy section.

There must be a good reason for a dismissal, and the dismissal must be procedurally in order. There are no hard and fast statutory requirements on how employers should handle matters of dismissal, but the concepts of what constitutes fair, equitable, and acceptable treatment have been progressively defined by case law. Dismissal is the most common reason for an employee to raise a personal grievance. It is also an area where the employer may have to defend their actions leading up to the dismissal.

If dismissal occurs, this will generally be at the end of a series of disciplinary procedures, and obviously only where these procedures have failed to remedy the problem. Notice periods contained in employment agreements must be complied with. Exceptions will exist where summary dismissal can be justified. However, in general, a dismissal action would be preceded by oral and written warnings.

Constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal is also known as forced resignation and occurs when an employer puts pressure (directly or indirectly) on an employee to resign. Also, when the employer makes the situation at work intolerable for the employee they may feel forced to resign. An employee who considers they have been forced to resign may raise a personal grievance.

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