Canstruct Interiors Limited v Zmeskal [2018] NZDC 26005

Published 11 April 2019

Protest to jurisdiction — Employment Relations Authority — ERA — receivership — Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 65, 161. The applicant was the company in receivership and the respondents were the sole director and shareholder, and an employee, respectively. The receivers alleged that the first respondent made personal payments totalling $18,845.97 without providing the company with consideration. The receivers also alleged that the same was true of the second respondent, with payments totalling $69,099.67. The receivers sought judgment for these sums. However, the respondents had filed a protest to jurisdiction in the case, alleging that they (including the sole director) were employees, and that the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has the exclusive jurisdiction to make determinations about employment relationship issues, per s 161 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. The Judge held that the ERA did have jurisdiction to determine whether the respondents were employees and whether they were paid the sums in question in that capacity. The Judge ordered a stay on proceedings pending the determination of the ERA and directed that costs be reserved until final disposition. Judgment Date: 14 December 2018.