Employment Law

We provide high level strategic employment advice on a wide range of issues that face employers and employees alike. We assist with resolving employment relationship problems and personal grievances, including providing advice and representation to clients to raise or defend grievances.

We represent clients in private mediations, MBIE mediations, the Employment Relations Authority and if necessary, the Employment and District Courts, as well as other courts and tribunals. We also provide guidance and support to employers and employees on performance management and disciplinary processes, including dismissal.

We provide a range of services relating to employment law, in particular:

  • Drafting and reviewing employment agreements as well as Health and Safety and HR policies.
  • Advising clients in relation to the management of poorly performing employees.
  • Advising in relation to disciplinary investigations and dismissals.
  • Advising about fixed term employment and independent contractor arrangements.
  • Providing advice about recruiting employees.
  • Advising in relation to KiwiSaver and superannuation requirements.
  • Advising clients in regard to their ability to alter terms of bonus arrangements.
  • Assisting and advising in the establishment of businesses in New Zealand.
  • Advising clients in relation to complex restructuring, redundancies and organisational change, including advice in relation to the strategy for change, the consultation process, procedural requirements, obligations of redeployment, drafting all relevant documentation, entitlements and general transition advice.
  • Advising a range of CEOs and senior executives on all aspects of remuneration, including drafting and negotiating terms of employment.
  • Providing clients with high level advice on New Zealand and cross-border privacy and confidentiality issues, with a focus upon the privacy principles contained in the Privacy Act 1993.
  • Advising clients on pragmatic executive exits, including high level strategic advice in relation to the same.
  • Advising on restraints of trade and other post termination obligations.

We have a proven track record of success in assisting clients with these matters, and set out some recent examples below.

We are also regularly instructed on large and complex restraint of trade issues, of which Jennifer has particular expertise. She has appeared as lead counsel for a number of high-profile cases, including:

  • Air New Zealand v Grant, where Jennifer acted for Air New Zealand. The case concerned the relationship between restraint of trade, and garden provisions.
  • About Face Ltd v Miller, where Jennifer successfully argued against the imposition of an interim injunction.
  • Taylors Floorcoverings & Furnishings Ltd v Brown, where Jennifer had the Employment Relations Authority grant an interim injunction in favour of her client.

Jennifer also successfully appeared as counsel in McAtanney-Clark v Johnson & Johnson (New Zealand) Ltd, which involved the contentious issue of whether the employee in question was an employee or a contractor. In the circumstances of the case, the ERA held in favour of Jennifer’s client.

Health & Safety

We regularly provide advice on health and safety issues in the workplace, including on compliance with legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, drafting and reviewing policies and procedures, guidance and assistance with WorkSafe or other regulatory investigations, and representing clients in prosecutions.

Our services include:

  • Advising clients in relation to workplace accidents.
  • Advising employers in relation to medical incapacity.
  • Assisting and representing clients during WorkSafe investigations, and prosecutions.
  • Drafting health and safety policies (including bullying, harassment and drug and alcohol policies).
  • Conducting disciplinary investigations in the event of health and safety breaches.
  • Providing in-house training on health and safety, and providing health and safety compliance advice.
  • Assisting clients respond to investigations conducted by MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).

Currently, we are working on two high profile health and safety defences involving fatalities. The cases involve alleged offences under the most serious, and second most serious categories under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. These could result in possible fines of up to $3 million and $1.5 million, respectively.

We are regularly required to provide strategic and detailed health and safety advice to companies, boards and executive teams regarding their obligations as officers and directors under the Health and Safety at Work Act, as well as company’s obligations as a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking).

We have recently been involved in providing such advice to a major land owner in New Zealand, as well as training their development partners on their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act, to ensure that the PCBU does everything to comply with these obligations, and to avoid the potential for prosecution.

Collective Bargaining

We represent clients engaged in collective bargaining, including assisting in negotiations, providing advice on strategies, processes, bargaining process agreements, terms and conditions, and other industrial disputes, as well as managing relationships with unions.

We have extensive experience acting for clients during the collective bargaining process, and provide other industrial-relations related services, including:

  • Drafting bargaining process agreements.
  • Advising on issues arising during industrial action (strikes, lockouts and suspension of workers).
  • Acting in cases relating to unlawful strikes (including strikes in essential services).
  • Advising on issues relating to the specific requirements pertaining to communications around and during the bargaining process.
  • Acting in cases relating to unlawful interference with trade, business and employment.
  • Acting for clients during facilitation and mediation.

We frequently provide advice to large employers regarding their strategies for collective bargaining, and to ensure the heightened good faith requirements around bargaining time are complied with.

Particularly with the  changes to collective bargaining, that strengthened union rights and collective bargaining requirements, it is important that employers are well equipped to engage with unions during collective bargaining.

We work hard to ensure we understand the most up to date legal position, and how that will impact our clients’ business so we can provide effective and practical advice tailored to the particular business for these purposes.

Jennifer was involved in advising a large employer in regard to an action brought by a union over access to workplace rights and a further dispute relating to the Employment Relations Act 2000. The union had a particularly strong position on site access, whilst the employer wished to minimise the impact of such access -a fairly common dispute. The advice and consequent discussions ultimately led to an agreement between the parties which detailed protocols for access, in addition to minimising that access.

Legislative Compliance

We provide advice on legislative compliance, including drafting and adapting employment agreements, policies and other documentation according to legislative requirements, (under the Employment Relations Act, Health and Safety at Work Act, Holidays Act, and other employment legislation) and tailored to the specific needs of the industry/business.

Employers can face grave consequences and penalties for failing to ensure contracts, processes and procedures adhere to legislative requirements.  At Jennifer Mills & Associates, we have extensive expertise implementing and reviewing documents, as well as workplace processes, to ensure legislative compliance, from top to bottom.  For example:

  • Auditing and drafting compliance programme materials.
  • Drafting and reviewing employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, secondment agreements, nomination deeds, compliance manuals and policies and procedures.
  • Implementing employment compliance programmes in the workplace.

Holidays Act Legislation

We assist with responding to and investigating workplace issues, including bullying allegations, harassment, discrimination.  We also provide advice in relation to rights and obligations under the Privacy Act in the employment context.

We know that Holidays Act issues can be particularly tricky, but we are highly skilled at interpreting and applying its provisions. Specifically, we are experienced in:

  • Providing high level strategic advice in relation to compliance with the Holidays Act, including advice relating to leave entitlements.
  • Providing practical advice to minimise exposure in relation to existing and future Holidays Act claims.
  • Providing advice on payroll remediation and acting for employers during the investigation and enforcement by Labour Inspectors.

Human Rights and Privacy

We assist with responding to and investigating workplace issues, including bullying allegations, harassment, discrimination, as well as providing advice in relation to rights and obligations under the Human Rights Act and Privacy Act in the employment context.

We provide a wide range of services relating to human rights and privacy in the employment context. These include:

  • Advising clients on New Zealand and cross-border privacy and confidentiality issues.
  • Providing advice in relation to compliance with New Zealand legislation and contractual obligations.
  • Advising on collection, use, disclosure, storage and transfer (cross border) of information.
  • Drafting privacy and confidentiality documentation.
  • Carrying out compliance audits.
  • Acting as counsel for clients in responding to complaints to the Privacy Commissioner by individuals.
  • Advising clients in relation to social media issues within the employment context, including employers’ obligations under the Privacy Act 1993.


We provide practical expert advice, to both employees and employers about immigration law matters.

This area is continually evolving, but you can count on us to keep up to date with the latest developments so we can effectively meet your needs. Our services include:

  • Advising clients in relation to immigration requirements for investor plus, investor and long-term business visa categories.
  • Advising on the complex health, character and financial requirements required for these visa categories.
  • Advising on preparation of applications.
  • Advising on the formulation of business plans.