DLA Piper New Zealand has an exceptional, dedicated team of employment lawyers, well known and highly experienced in the full range of employment relations and labour law.

We are a trusted adviser to some of New Zealand’s largest employers, and some of the world’s largest multi-nationals present in this country. DLA Piper New Zealand works nationally on New Zealand employment law issues for its wide range of blue chip clients and often on multi-jurisdictional issues.

The team is called upon in contentious and non-contentious matters and has a substantial track record in both. It delivers practical, cost effective, commercially savvy advice, valued by clients for its depth of business and sector knowledge as well as its legal rigour.

Managing employees in the workplace

We work closely and in alignment with our clients, effectively as an adjunct to their in-house human resources team, and for their boards, for international corporates in New Zealand and for senior management.

DLA Piper New Zealand is in day to day contact with a wide range of national and international clients, providing strategic advice on every aspect of human resources management and on the Employment Relations Act.

We are also highly experienced at complex employment litigation. The team is proficient at mediation, and appears in employment related litigation before the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and all higher courts. We are skilled at the appropriate resolution of employment issues.

DLA Piper New Zealand also has particular specialisation in employee compensation, employee benefits and remuneration. We help clients structure incentive and benefit schemes. We have in-depth knowledge of KiwiSaver and superannuation and their deployment in the workplace.

Executive advice

DLA Piper New Zealand also advises senior executives privately on issues such as: personal employment agreements, remuneration and benefits, severance, corporate governance, personal grievances, and employee share scheme issues.


  • Disciplinary and performance management processes
  • Coaching out and agreed exits
  • Unjustified dismissal claims
  • Urgent investigations, obtaining High Court orders including freezing orders
  • Holidays Act issues, holiday pay; bereavement leave; sick leave; parental leave
  • Representation before Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court and employment related tribunals
  • Bonus and incentive systems
  • KiwiSaver and superannuation
  • Personal grievances
  • Collective and individual employment agreements (including fixed term and part-time arrangements)
  • Workplace training and policy development
  • Restraint of trade
  • Outsourcing; offshoring; shared services arrangements
  • Employee compensation, benefits and remuneration
  • Employee share schemes
  • Legislative changes
  • Parliamentary Select Committee representation


Sport New Zealand
DLA Piper New Zealand advised Sport New Zealand on a confidential and comprehensive restructure of their community sport function.

Alcatel Lucent New Zealand Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand advised local and international management on an exit agreement with a dismissed senior executive, who was bringing a personal grievance claiming reinstatement and damages. This matter involved urgent and high level negotiations with the employee's lawyer to achieve an appropriate commercial outcome for the local business.

Federated Farmers
DLA Piper New Zealand was appointed employment law advisors for Federated Farmers of New Zealand and all of its membership. This involves manning an 0800 employment line, providing immediate employment law and health and safety advice, to all Federated Farmers members throughout New Zealand. This service is a highly valued and integral part of the Federated Farmers offering to its membership.

New Zealand Veterinary Association (Inc)
DLA Piper New Zealand advised the Chief Executive of our client on a particularly difficult performance and stress-related issue. We assisted with the performance improvement process while also identifying a strategy to resolve what was becoming a dysfunctional and stressful relationship for all concerned.

Nuplex Specialities Limited
A previous employee of Nuplex alleged entitlement to long-term health insurance post-retirement at Nuplex' costs. DLA Piper New Zealand successfully defended these claims in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment court, and then the Court of Appeal, securing significant cost for the client.

Foodstuffs North Island Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand advised on the largest corporate merger in New Zealand in 2013, of Foodstuffs (Wellington) Co-operative Society Limited and Foodstuffs (Auckland) Limited to create Foodstuffs North Island Limited, making them one of the three largest business entities in New Zealand  with annual revenues of greater than NZ$6 billion.  We counselled on all employment features of the merger, and recently negotiations and recruitment of the senior executive team (for example the CFO). Advice was also given on senior executives exit processes.

Antons Seafoods Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand advised on the sale of fishing quota, freehold properties and a fish processing plant to Aotearoa Fisheries and Sealord.  Our employment team were heavily involved with union negotiations in regard to redundancy severance payments and the introduction of new terms with the acquirer; analysis of EPP clauses, negotiating transfer of some personnel, vulnerable employee considerations; and retention of some employees for clients remaining business.

DSM Nutritional Products AG
Liaising with management and legal counsel in Singapore and Switzerland, DLA Piper New Zealand advised on the 100% share acquisition of Unitech Industries Limited (Unitech) by global entity DSM Nutritional Products AG (DSM). DLA Piper New Zealand is the leading HR employment law advisor to Unitech.

DLA Piper New Zealand advised on the merger of BDO and PKF Ross during early 2014, forming a new entity with 250 staff and 26 partners.  DLA Piper New Zealand counselled on the technical side of the transaction in relation to the employees - technical redundancy issues; employee transition, workplace harmonisation; contractual complexities; and timing of employee transfer.

Newell Rubbermaid Inc.
DLA Piper New Zealand advised Newell Rubbermaid in the New Zealand business consolidation (acquisition by the New Zealand subsidiary (Irwin Industrial Tool Company Limited) of the Australian subsidiary (Newell Australia Pty Limited)).  DLA Piper New Zealand counselled on some very complex employment aspects i.e. redundancy entitlements, the transfer of employees from one organisation to another and the introduction of new terms for existing employees with total values NZ$13.7 million.

We have prepared a Guide To Doing Business In New Zealand to help those venturing into the market navigate their way through local legislation to identify and maximise the many opportunities that are available.