Call for employees treated badly by bosses to retain anonymity

Businessman shouting through bullhorn at co-workers

Unions want employees who win legal battles with their bosses to retain anonymity.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) almost always publishes its decisions in full, with both parties named. 

But this is having a chilling effect on workers, unions say, stopping them from taking bad bosses to task.

"I make sure they understand that if they go to the authority, then their names can be reported and are likely to be searched by recruitment agencies," E tu union lawyer Anne-Marie McInally told Stuff on Sunday.

"People are very nervous about being put in that position."

ERA chief James Chricton said there was evidence prospective employers look up job applicants to see if they've made complaints before, making it "difficult for some litigants to find work after bringing a case in the authority".

Likewise, employers that are ruled to have been wrongly accused still suffer a penalty of being named publicly, a representative of Business NZ told Stuff.

A review of the ERA dispute system next year is reportedly expected to be looking at the naming issue.