The Employment contract is one of the cornerstones of modern society. On the one end stands an "employee" who is "employed" by an "employer". It has arisen out of the old master-servant law, used before the 20th century. In the words of the influential labour lawyer Sir Otto Kahn-Freund,
"the relation between an employer and an isolated employee or worker is typically a relation between a bearer of power and one who is not a bearer of power. In its inception it is an act of submission, in its operation it is a condition of subordination, however much the submission and the subordination may be concealed by the indispensable figment of the legal mind known as the 'contract of employment'. The main object of labour law has been, and... will always be a countervailing force to counteract the inequality of bargaining power which is inherent and must be inherent in the employment relationship."
In this essay we will explore the employment agreement in more detail, also look at the bargaining powers of the employer/employee, personal grievances and the recent policy of the 90 day trial period. We will do this by referencing sections from the Employment Relations Act(ERA) 2000, and by using real life cases and judgments.
Every employee must have a written employment agreement. It can be either an individual agreement or a collective agreement. According to the ERA Act 2000 (s5), the employment agreement is a written contract of service with the legal employee terms and conditions between employment relationships, such as an employer and a home worker – collective or individual. An employer, according to ERA Act 2000 (s5), is a person employing a number of employees or hiring his or her own helper, such as home worker. An employee, according to the ERA Act 2000 (s6), is any person of any age employed by an employer to do any work pertaining to hire or reward under a contract of service. Excludes any person who is a volunteer and does not expect to be rewarded...