Petition request That the House of Representatives pass legislation allowing that an employer or manager of a business or entity can be found personally liable when it comes to personal grievance cases in mediation, or in the employment relations authority
Petition reason In my view, there are too many cases where the manager of a business (not directly connected to the directorship, or a shareholder) makes decisions, particularly in workplace bullying situations, to bully staff. And yet when it comes to the ERA, either the manager is removed from the proceeding, or they are protected through the process of vicarious liability. They can then repeat their previous actions against future employees, because they were never disciplined, nor suffered consequences.
This isn't the first petition to Parliament to deal with workplace bullying. But we think it's the first one with this suggestion.
The scope of what New Zealand's employment tribunals can do is mostly more controversial for things they do do - like issuing gagging orders and threatening to send whistleblowers to prison. They aren't necessarily the right bodies to be given any more powers. But they also would probably say they don't need to be given any powers, because they have said they can do what they like anyway.
Noted though that the pressure for the government to deal with this cancer is coming now from all sides, when the government coverups have gone so far it's probably impossible. Lots of government MPs and Ministers have used coverups like this, so they are not likely to stop them. They will probably say it's a matter for the courts.
Including the ERA, which also gave itself power to be a court, when it's obviously not. The government can't even control MBIE.
So we say, good on you, Sam Somers. Good luck with that.