As an employment law specialist, I have acted in many precedent setting issues in the employment jurisdiction.

Notable examples are:

  • Tru-Test Ltd v Callingham [2018] NZEmpC 15: Achieving without notice (ex-parte) preservation orders against the former employee of the Tru-Test Group and the employee’s new company in response to breach of confidentiality and fidelity. It was the first time the Employment Court had made such orders on a without notice basis.
  • Aon New Zealand v West [2016] Auckland NZERA 74: successfully acting for Aon in its claim against a former employee for breaches of his restraint of trade obligations, and obtaining one of the highest penalty awards ordered by the Employment Relations Authority against an individual.
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. v Lewis [2015] 3 NZLR 618: Court of Appeal judgment on important jurisdictional issues in the Employment Court and the status of settlement agreements not certified by a mediator.
  • Jetstar Airways Ltd v Greenslade [2015] NZCA 432: Acting for Jetstar in the Court of Appeal on litigation concerning the status of regulated rest breaks for pilots under aviation legislation and the interface with the rest and meal break requirements under the Employment Relations Act 2000. The case also considered the phrase ‘other enactment’ and the status of the Australian aviation legislation for Australian airline operators flying in New Zealand under the Civil Aviation Act 1990.
  • Edwards v Two Degrees Ltd [2012] NZEmpC 111: Acting for the founder of Two Degrees Mobile Limited to obtain an urgent injunction in the Employment Court preventing his dismissal on the ground of alleged redundancy.
  • Auckland District Health Board v Bierre [2011] NZEmpC 108: Acting for the Health Board to successfully oppose the former-employee’s challenge to the admissibility of evidence of the Nurse Manager, its Occupational Health Medical Adviser and the expert evidence of a psychologist.
  • Smith v Evolution E-Business Ltd [2010] ERNZ 514: Successfully acting to have the Employment Court remove proceedings filed in the Employment Relations Authority given the important issues of law raised in relation to inequity as a defence to breach of confidentiality.
  • A v The Internet Company of New Zealand [2009] ERNZ 1: Acting for a major New Zealand employer to obtain pre-proceeding disclosure from an internet service provider regarding the identity of an account that an abusive and anonymous email was sent from.
  • Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua v Brence [2009] NZEmpC26: Obtaining the first search order (Anton Piller) order after the Employment Court became imbued with the jurisdiction to award such orders.
  • Bringing injunction in the Employment Court in 2016 as a first application to deal with the new strike balloting legislation introduced in 2016. I acted for the Order of St John, and the potential strike impacted thousands of employees. The matter settled soon after filing and the union withdrew its strike notices.

Michael O’Brien Barrister

Employment Law Specialist
+64 21 380273