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View Full Version : Off Topic: Small claims, civil disputes, and Law in NZ online anywhere?



Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 04:56 AM
Greetings,

Some of you may know that my previous employer did not appreciate my leaving the company. This was mostly because of my not wanting to sign an "Employment Contract" which was 10 lines long.
Laughable to say the least, and aside from that it was more a statement of Submission than an employment contract.

This was only presented to me after working back at my previous place of employment after 3 1/2 weeks. (Origionally myself and "Joe Bloggs" were going to purchase this business after a month of management)
Up until then, it had only been a verbal contact between myself and my employer/partner.

He also owed me a small sum for money I had personally lended him.

The idea was that at the end of the month we would meet with a financial advisor and discuss the possiblities. Rather than go along with this, my 'partner' of the time decided to skip that, and purchase the business without consulting me.

I decided at that time to pull out, and had been planning on it for about a week beforehand.

So, obviously Mr. Bloggs was annoyed with my leaving.

End of the day, long story cut short:
Im still owed money by this "Bloggs", however from browsing the Employment Tribunal website - Theres little I can do for the last weeks wage owed to me still.

However Im told I can claim a Civil Dispute, confiscate something from the shop and give written notice that the smaller amount of $ that is owed to me by "Bloggs" personally needs to be paid by date XYZ or I will sell off the confiscated item to claim back what is owed to me.

Ideally I wont have to do that, but Im just curious what my options are.

Is there anywhere in NZ that has Law and law assistance online?

Many thanks


Chill.

Jim B
17-11-2004, 05:10 AM
http://www.netlaw.co.nz/

JJJJJ
17-11-2004, 05:11 AM
I doubt very much if you can remove an item and hold it as security. I think you are more likely to be charged with theft.
You can take him to the small claims tribunal and if you win you hopefully get paid. If you don't get paid you can apply for a winding up order,which will put the business into receivership.
If it is only a small amount it is probably easier to write it off.
Jack

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 05:22 AM
I agree Jack - Its precious little, however its not the monetary value I am after.

He's treating other long-term customers badly (I would elaborate but it would be breaking rules) so its more, for me, teaching me that he cant treat people like that and get away with theft.

I'll check out Netlaw :-)

Thanks guys, Any other thoughts/comments?

Cheers


Chill.

drb1
17-11-2004, 05:48 AM
Chill,

On principle such evil must be pursued, or it will bite again.

Was there a verball agreement to buy the business together?

Winston may help, this sound's without detail, like a contract, in which case the offender has breached said, and is liable.

Why can you have your last weeks wages, did you walk, or was it mutually agreed?

D.

drb1
17-11-2004, 06:03 AM
Chill,

This is also two or three differnt issues. If you get cunning and write the issues out you can get 3 appointments with 3 very good different councill 1st hour/1st consultation free. send in the docs first and then attend.

Gary Pollack and co offer this service, gary is a deadly Employment Lawyer and he supervises his juniors closley.

Then 1 for the contract issue, and 1 for the money.

I could give you a list of great criminal council, but civil I would have to dig on a little.

D.

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 06:16 AM
I handed in two weeks notice....

The idea was after 1 month we would discuss purchasing of it. I indicated I didnt think it was a good idea and wanted to have the meeting with a financial advisor asap.

He went ahead without me and purchased it, as well as taking the "senior" role at the place and handing me a laughable 10-line "employment contact".

I told him no way and gave two weeks notice on the spot.

I like the idea about 3x consultations :D

4bes
17-11-2004, 07:10 AM
Even without a written contract, you would still be covered by current employment laws so you should be able to get your final pay and any holiday pay.
If you want to get really nasty, ask the IRD if they received the PAYE from your last weeks of employment. :)

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 07:13 AM
The IRD havent received ANY for the whole 6 weeks.......

4bes
17-11-2004, 07:14 AM
did someone mention an audit...........? :D

Murray P
17-11-2004, 07:23 AM
Verbal agreements are just as binding as written, but they're much harder to enforce especially if you have no proof such as corroboration from third parties of the agreement.

You cannot be made to sign or agree to something (agreement/contract) under duress. If you have proof of that, then the contract is void. Otherwise it comes down to who is believable.

You cannot be made to adhere to or be bound by a document that is outside the law (ultra vires, rare beast to get a determination of AFAIK). Do you have a copy on this persons letter head or with their signature.

To me it sounds like constructive dismissal.

Don't take my word for it though, get legal advice. Hopefully Winnie will add to this and correct any misinformation.

I would question the cost in both time and money to pursue this, watch for counter claims. Don't go grabbing items of value from his premises, it'll get very messy from there.

Murray P

Murray P
17-11-2004, 07:32 AM
BTW, reading between the lines, it seems to me that this person wanted a cheap employee who could take the can for some business aspects like costs and overtime time rather than a partner in business. If that is the case, then the lesson learned is worth much more than they owe you ;)

Murray P

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 07:40 AM
Yeah, I agree...

I just rang up IRD and nothings been presented - They gave me the number:
0800 800 863
Labour Department

Said that I should call them and talk about the lack of tax paid.......

Murray P
17-11-2004, 07:47 AM
If he's as unscrupulous as you suggest, what's to stop him saying you were and independent contractor and should have been paying your own taxes. You stole sole goods or services off him, or used them without reimbursing as per your agreement.

Be careful stirring up someone who has no scruples, who is prepared to play hard and has experience playing that way.

Murray P

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 07:48 AM
I had thought the same, hence why Ive not called IRD yet.....

4bes
17-11-2004, 07:52 AM
Was anyone else employed there during the time you were working for him?

4bes
17-11-2004, 07:58 AM
How were you paid? Cash, cheque, direct credit?

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 08:10 AM
No, nobody was.

I was paid cash because we didnt have access to the old bank account and the bank wouldnt open a new one until something was done with the Name of the business.

4bes
17-11-2004, 08:17 AM
It will be very hard to prove you were employed and could get messy.
How about trying one of those employment lawyers that advertise everywhere. No fees unless you win the case.

4bes
17-11-2004, 08:24 AM
http://www.legalalternative.co.nz/

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 08:27 AM
Yeah, but for the amount Im going to get, I know some lawyers charge tons...

Good idea, I'll think about it.

Might as well add the last part of this employers issues in:

I was doing freelance work and given a job to sell a guy a Modem for his old HP Palmtop. I got in contact with this guy about a week before I began managing the business with "Mr Bloggs".

So, in order to try and give the cafe a boost in cashflow, I took the money out of my account the day that it came in and took it to work.
Approx two days later, I took the required money to our supplier and purchased the goods.

About a week before I left (A week into my two weeks notice) the guy wanted a refund because the modem was the wrong type.

The origional receipt (Of ours with our supplier) was misplaced, however I had one from approx a week earlier which I was informed (Twice) when I called the supplier that we could use to initiate the refund. This receipt was given to "Mr Bloggs" who is still working at the business, I am not. I do not have the receipt, nor the modem, nor the marginal profit that was made.

Now the client wants a refund but "Mr Bloggs" is claiming its my responsibility to do so. The client sent his bank details on to me which I forwarded to "Mr Bloggs" so that it could be paid, but he refuses.


Just thought I'd throw the last of the issues Im having with this employer into the ring.


Im looking to get together and have a mediated discussion with an impartial third party to see if these can be resolved - Good idea?!

Cheers guys


Chill.

Greg S
17-11-2004, 08:41 AM
It's relatively simple, though long winded, to get money owed to you via the Employment Tribunal. I speak from experience, after having won two cases against a previous employer - a huge multi-national corporation.

Chilly, feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss my experiences

stu120404
17-11-2004, 10:10 AM
I know this will not help, but

Good luck! in getting your pay :)

Winston001
17-11-2004, 10:48 AM
Oh dear. I feel a headache coming on.

Firstly Chill, I suspect you were too polite to email me. Don't hesitate.

Secondly, it is helpful for many people to learn about and discuss these types of problems. Hence this thread is a good idea.

It seems to me you are an employee. An employer has to prove otherwise. Your remedy is to lodge a claim through the Employment Relations Service, and I think you are already in that direction.

You don't really need a lawyer for a small sum of money. Indeed, it will get swallowed up in costs. And Joe Bloggs might not pay up anyway.

I like 4bes suggestion about IRD. Excellent idea. What possible risk to you? Being paid cash is not illegal. The employer still has to deduct tax and file a PAYE return.

The Disputes Tribunal does not deal with employment issues. However it does deal with claims for money owed - and no lawyers allowed. Use it.

So far as the modem is concerned - that is difficult. Your contract is with the customer so you owe the refund. The supplier has no obligation to refund Joe Bloggs, and he in turn has no obligation to pay you.

You also have a contract with the supplier. Despite the loss of the receipt, surely the modem itself was returned? Assuming they accept that, why not refund direct to you? They should also have a record of the part being sold and returned. The money passing through the cafe is a red herring. It is nothing more than a short-term loan to the business which was repaid when you took the money back.

By all means get a free employment consultation. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if there is an argument against you that you were in a business partnership. Not true from your side of course, but the waters are murky.

Finally, you have been given some good advice in the posts above. I think you are on the right track.

Graham L
17-11-2004, 12:49 PM
"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on".

JJJJJ
17-11-2004, 12:56 PM
"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on".
?????????????????????????? ?:| ?:|
Jack

somebody
17-11-2004, 02:04 PM
joke - someone famous was caught saying that I think, although I can't remember who.

metla
17-11-2004, 02:17 PM
"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."
-- Samuel Goldwyn

No idea who he is....

JJJJJ
17-11-2004, 02:20 PM
Metro Goldwyn Meyer

Pete O\'Neil
17-11-2004, 02:34 PM
You could always take the South Auckland approach to the problem. All you need is a sacked out Holden, 3 large tough looking mates, sticks and balaclava for all, and some silly America gangsta rap.

Spend an evening driving up and down the road outside their house, doing the odd wheelie and just participating in activities that make you look tough. If money's a bit tight and you cant afford the petrol, park on the footpath outside his house (doing a handbrake slide into the parked position will enhance ones toughness) and share your passion for silly American gangsta rap with him.

The following day, pop round to see Mr Blogg and see if his willing to discuss payement. Take the sacked out Holden with you so as to develop the link between yourself and toughness without actually admitting anything. As long as hes not thick he should hopefully realise if he every wants to sleep peacefully again it would be in his best interest to pay up.

I take no responsibility for any inprissonment that may follow the above actions. If successful feel free to pop round to my place with a swap-a-crate and your "3 large tough looking mates" and we can celebrate a job well done.

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 03:32 PM
Pete:
Well said!

Graham:
Lets hope he was wrong....

Winston001:
You know me too well... Of course I didnt want to email you, the last thing Id want is for you to think is that Ive got myself the best lawyer on the block and am after free service, however your valuable input is greatly appreciated, so thankyou :-)


So basically although "Mr Bloggs" has now the money, the modem and the receipt, Im stuffed and have to pay this client back regardless?

metla
17-11-2004, 03:37 PM
Don't worry Chilli,I can get an old beat up holden,roar up to Ockerland,swing by pete's house,then over your way,then cane the fat sow down to wherever this guy lives and do some skids.

No rap music though........

Pete O\'Neil
17-11-2004, 03:54 PM
> Don't worry Chilli,I can get an old beat up
> holden,roar up to Ockerland,swing by pete's
> house,then over your way,then cane the fat sow down
> to wherever this guy lives and do some skids.
>
> No rap music though........
I'll bring some diesel, and we can use "smoke signals" to inform him of our arrival. If i'm involved then i agree with metla, perhaps we can use heavy metal instead? Although that does change it from a "Once Were Warriors" feel to more of a "Detroit Rock City" feel. If thats the case perhaps we should consider substituting the 3rd large tough looking mate for a large rotweiler (or dog of similar toughness) with studded leather collar.

Thomas
17-11-2004, 04:02 PM
Unless the amount owed is substantial, I would take it as a lesson learned and move on.
Mind you 007 may be a better person to take advice from;)sorry 001.

Murray P
17-11-2004, 04:03 PM
> > Don't worry Chilli,I can get an old beat up
> > holden,roar up to Ockerland,swing by pete's
> > house,then over your way,then cane the fat sow
> down
> > to wherever this guy lives and do some skids.
> >
> > No rap music though........
> I'll bring some diesel, and we can use "smoke
> signals" to inform him of our arrival. If i'm
> involved then i agree with metla, perhaps we can use
> heavy metal instead? Although that does change it
> from a "Once Were Warriors" feel to more of a
> "Detroit Rock City" feel. If thats the case perhaps
> we should consider substituting the 3rd large tough
> looking mate for a large rotweiler (or dog of similar
> toughness) with studded leather collar.

Grab a Westy or two for the ride, they're not hard to spot. That way you don't have to worry about damaging someones pedigree pooch and the fuel for the car and the Westy's will be much cheaper :D

Murray P

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 04:11 PM
> for a large rotweiler (or dog of similar
> toughness) with studded leather collar.

I have a younger sibbling who would fit the bill perfectly ;-)

Pete O\'Neil
17-11-2004, 04:12 PM
Murray i was thinking of just driving through Otahuhu on our way Mr Bloggs house and "borrowing" one. :D

MartynC
17-11-2004, 04:13 PM
Get Matthew Ridge to come along, if could use the 'apparence fee' & after being in that music video, knows how to move around South Auckland Cars :D

Murray P
17-11-2004, 04:24 PM
> Murray i was thinking of just driving through Otahuhu
> on our way Mr Bloggs house and "borrowing" one. :D


Arrh yesss! It's good get your hands on a hungry one, excellent thinking. Watch out feeding time ain't a bit earlier than you expect though. If you cut a hole in the boot lid, just big enough for its head that should provide the multi-media experience while minimising the risk to limbs.

Hang on, throw a couple of westy's in the back seat, just in case the beastie can't wait to get there and decides it wants to join you in the front. The Westy's can still take care of the fuel for the car and the dog then :^O I'm beginning to get a very satisfying image of the occasion.

Murray P

Pete O\'Neil
17-11-2004, 04:57 PM
Im liking the idea of the dog in the boot, it gives us more room for westies, thus increasing our toughness. We could get Robo and Bruce to tag along and they can write an unbias article about Chill's experience. Hopefully Mr Bloggs has a fully fenced section, so that the Rotweiler doesnt escape ;D if not we can contact the SPCA and infrom them hes not fit to be a animal owner and reckonmend a large fine.

Murray P
17-11-2004, 07:12 PM
Bruce and Robo are Westy's!! Ohhhh :O bing bing bing! Well that explains everything doesn't it ;\










PS. I'm really & truly very very sorry if I have offended any Westy's out there. It must be tough enough without jerks like me dissing you and making unfair associations. I'll desist from now on :p

Desperado
17-11-2004, 07:38 PM
A bar i used to drink at in Fort street used to run a Westy Wenesday,2 for 1 drinks all night,......great times.....

Chilling_Silence
17-11-2004, 07:45 PM
Us JAFA's have to stick together ya know..... ;-)

Winston001
18-11-2004, 02:12 PM
>
> So basically although "Mr Bloggs" has now the money,
> the modem and the receipt, Im stuffed and have to pay
> this client back regardless?

Yes, and no.

Yes, you owe the client. That is for you to deal with.

No, you don't have to accept the cretinous Bloggs profiting at your expense. I hadn't divined from above that he already had the modem and the money. You are too trusting Chill :D

But its a slightly mixed-up situation. Disputes Tribunal claim.

How did he get the refund and yet hold on to the modem? Or was the refund for his own purchase (returned)? He has unlawful possession of the modem. A Police matter, but they might not be interested.

We might need a few more facts, but you shouldn't let the Blackadder spawn (Bloggs) away with it. Tell us more if you can.

Chilling_Silence
18-11-2004, 02:53 PM
Okay:
The client (Richard) wanted a refund.
I said sure, no problem, post the modem back.

So I by then have a week left of working at the shop.
The Modem arrives and I approach "Mr Bloggs" asking for the receipt so it can be returned. He claims he cant even remember the sale occured, nor does he know the location of the receipt, but suggested I leave the Modem with him and he would try and return it without a receipt.

A week later I leave the business. A week and a half later I find a receipt of mine for the same product I had purchased about a week before we began Managing the business. I gave this to Mr Bloggs to assist with the return.

Mr bloggs still has the modem, has not returned it... Should still have that receipt (Which the supplier will honor).... Has not refunded the customer either, although he has the clients details.

I have nothing, the client has nothing..... Err, yeah..... :-(

Winston001
18-11-2004, 03:49 PM
OK. Above you said you'd done the modem job free-lance - and before you started working for Bloggs. That means the job has nothing to do with Bloggs or the business.

But it seems it did.................because he had the receipt which suggests Blogg's business ordered and paid for the modem. But you said you paid for the modem. The money went through the business till as a cash float short term loan from you................or did it?

Look Chill. Whatever the correct facts - and I'm sure it is all quite simple, you need to make a claim against the guy. If the sale was by the business to Richard (Dick to his mates) and you were simply an employee, then Bloggs business owes the money.

But you were freelance and not working for the business................. so I'm very confused. :D

Thomas
18-11-2004, 06:03 PM
>But you were freelance and not working for the business................. so >I'm very confused.

The point is proved,patience is indeed a virtue.

Clarity of mind is obviously not required to fix computers.