How can an Employment Court judgement or ERA Determination that publicly named the parties years ago now be subject to unofficial name suppression?
It started in March 2019 when ERA Member Rachel Larmer fined employment advocate Allan Halse for disparaging the employer of several clients. Because serious wrongdoing (other than bullying) had been alleged, the Member anonymised the employer. Where one party is anonymised, usually the other is too, so the matter was reported as RPW v C and H.
RPW is one of three employers suing “H” and “C”. Turuki Healthcare is similar to RPW in that the ERA also awarded heavy penalties against Halse and Culturesafe in relation to a dispute over a Culturesafe client’s settlement agreement. Bay of Plenty District Health Board is an outlier and no penalties have been awarded against Halse and Culturesafe even though the proceedings have been underway for just over three years – we have referred to this as a Zombie SLAPP.
Former BOP DHB cardiac physiologist Ana Shaw is a co-defendant, and also has personal grievance claims against BOP DHB in the Employment Court. What Culturesafe, Halse and Shaw did to get themselves sued was possibly refuse to keep their mouths shut about one thing or another.
Being self-employed and a lay employment law researcher I offer some business (not legal) advice: anyone who wants to be an employment advocate specialising in workplace bullying should put their assets in trust (we'll explain later).
A Judicial Review into whether the ERA had the jurisdiction to issue proceedings about nothing or do things like fine third parties (and Shaw) in the first place was struck out by the Supreme Court on 21 December.
Judgements are publicised on Government websites including:
employment.govt.nz (part of MBIE - click on Employment Law Database for ERA determinations)
employmentcourt.govt.nz – search for judgements by party name, year etc
courtsofnz.govt.nz – similar, but not as user-friendly as nzlii.org
The New Zealand Legal Information Institute (nzlii.org) is a non-profit associated with Otago University and while it’s not particularly pretty, it does contain searchable decisions from every Court, Authority, Tribunal and Commission in the country.
Leighton Associates are a specialist media organisation that has respected valid non-publication orders, and sometimes we avoid using first names even if we’re legally allowed to. We noticed that Ana Shaw, who is suing - and being sued by – BOP DHB, has been anonymised to “S” on nzlii.org, but not on employment.govt.nz or employmentcourt.govt.nz as of October 14-17 2021; likewise C (Culturesafe) and H (Halse). Screen shots of two decisions, with different anonymisation status, follow:
We think the New Zealand Legal Information Institute was tricked into retrospectively anonymising Halse and Shaw because the Government database administrators have not changed Allan Halse to H and Ana Shaw to S.
Because we suspect that Ana Shaw becoming “S” was a combination of mischief (or malice) and human error, we will be requesting a correction.