Buddle Findlay brings a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to employment law.  We take into account not only the legal aspects of employment relationship issues but the practical and interpersonal factors too.


We take into account not only the legal aspects of an employment relationship issue, but also the practical and interpersonal factors, and our clients’ strategic goals.

Our team are skilled and proactive advocates at mediation, in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court, and in the civil and appellate courts.  Members of our team have practised in Australia and the United Kingdom, and we regularly advise clients based off-shore.

We have excellent working relationships with the Employment Relations Service, Mediation Service, the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court, and other employment lawyers.  We also have good working relationships with key stakeholders in the employment relations field, including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand.  These relationships assist our clients to achieve their objectives in a cost-effective and timely way.

We help our clients achieve practical solutions to their legal problems and provide legal and strategic advice to corporate clients in both the public and private sectors, and to individuals.

We provide advice and assistance across the full range of employment issues, including:

  • Design and implementation of change and restructuring processes
  • Advice and representation in collective bargaining, and in other interactions with unions and collectivised workforces
  • Advice to parties on mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing
  • Best practice procedures for hiring employees, performance management, misconduct investigations and dismissal
  • Avoidance and resolution of personal grievances, disputes and other employment relationship problems
  • Protection of confidential information and intellectual property, including the enforcement of restraints of trade
  • Negotiating and drafting employment agreements, contracts for services and policies
  • Undertaking independent investigations into serious misconduct and other complaints
  • Advice on holidays and leave, KiwiSaver and superannuation, information and privacy, accident compensation, discrimination, harassment and bullying, remuneration and medical, stress and disability issues.

Restructuring guidelines

We have put together a helpful resource that will guide you through the steps for restructuring in New Zealand.  This is a general guide, and not definitive advice for specific situations.  We would be happy to assist any time with more tailored advice. 

Download the restructuring guidelines


Webinar: Privacy 2020 for employers – Time to reset

Privacy continues to be a hot topic for employers around the country and as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has said, the new Privacy Act 2020 offers organisations a chance to "reset" and make sure they get things right.  On Tuesday 22 September 2020, our team in Auckland presented a webinar on what employers need to know and do for the upcoming Privacy Act 2020.

Watch webinar


Restraints of trade and protection of confidential information

Confidential information and the knowledge that employees acquire during their employment are two of the most important assets for any business.  Employers will be aware of the need to put systems in place to protect their confidential information when employees leave their employment.  The impact of failing to do so can lead to consequences that are difficult to reverse and can result in an employer having limited options to prevent further damage to its business.

Download the restraint of trade guide


  • Tier 1, Employment - Legal 500 Asia Pacific

Work highlights

Advising Nestlé Health Science

on the acquisition of The Better Health Company (which includes the brands GO Healthy and Egmont Honey)

Acting for the New Zealand Defence Force

in negotiating and drafting the new Maritime Fleet Sustainment Services Agreement (MFSS) – Hāpai Taua Manuao

Providing strategic industrial relations advice

during collective bargaining for employers such as ANZ Bank, Kiwirail, Steel & Tube, Kiwibank, Massey University, Unitec Institute of Technology, Manukau Institute of Technology, Wellington International Airport and all New Zealand District Health Boards. This has included advice on communications during bargaining, strikes and lockouts, union ballots, information requests, strike and initiation notices, suspension, good faith issues, and life preserving services.

Advising Waiaraki Institute of Technology and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Eastern Institute of Technology and Tairawhiti Polytechnic, and Aoraki Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology

on their respective mergers

Representing Capital & Coast District Health Board

in a test case in the Employment Relations Authority and Full Court of the Employment Court on a claim that home-based relief carers funded through the national Carer Support scheme were employees of the Ministry of Health and District Health Board

Acting for Precision Tracking (a GPS technology company)

in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court against its former Managing Director for significant breaches of confidentiality and to enforce his restrictive covenants, together with proceedings against his new employer in the High Court based on conspiracy and inducement of breach of contract

Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0439
  • M +64 21 279 2147


Mere King

Partner, Auckland

Mere specialises in employment, industrial relations, health and safety, employee privacy matters, as well dispute resolution and…

  • DDI +64 9 363 1348
  • M +64 21 575 609


Peter Chemis

Partner, Wellington

Peter specialises in employment law, industrial relations and related areas, and leads Buddle Findlay’s national employment team…

  • DDI +64 4 498 7339
  • M +64 27 444 6619


Sherridan Cook

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

Sherridan specialises in employment, industrial relations and health and safety as well as litigation and dispute resolution…

  • DDI +64 9 357 1858
  • M +64 27 545 9768


Susan Rowe

Partner, Christchurch

Susan specialises in litigation, local government, insurance, industrial relations and health and safety. Susan currently advises…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3517
  • M +64 27 537 7784