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90 Day Trial Period scrutinised in Court

Published 03 Apr 2017

A Quality Controller was dismissed from his role in a fruit packing operation in Hawkes Bay under the 90 Day Trial Period legislation.

The ex-employee brought a subsequent unjustified dismissal case before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
The argument was based on;
  • The employee had commenced work prior to the signing of the Employment Agreement;
  • He also had verbally accepted the position the previous month and therefore was already employed;
  • The Employment Agreement was not bargained for fairly since he was not given the opportunity to seek advice on its content;
  • He had signed the Agreement without knowledge it contained a 90 Day Trial Period.
After some debate and the parties finally agreeing the employee had nearly 1 month to review the Employment Agreement prior to the role commencing, it came down to a dispute about whether the staff member had signed the Agreement prior to starting work on the first day, or an hour later into that first day.

Fortunately, the company's clocking system and supporting arguments outweighed the employee's inconsistent and inaccurate recollection of events.

The ERA member subsequently dismissed the claim brought against the company.

This case once again serves to demonstrate exactly how much scope for error and subsequent claim there is when dismissing under the 90 Day Trial Period.

We would always recommend using our free tools to double check your 90 Day Trial Period implementation prior to dismissing someone under this law. Click here to go to the tools.