Belittling criticism, consuming alcohol at work, stealing, intimidating behaviour, bullying and relationship problems.
These are just some of the Bay of Plenty workplace issues heard by the Employment Relations Authority and the reasons behind mediations carried out by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment.
MBIE data shows it provided 533 mediations, in Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatāne in 2019 and 2020.
Over the same timeframes, the Employment Relations Authority held 21 hearings in the Bay of Plenty and more than half of those cases related to personal grievances.
The ERA said in a statement it did not keep statistics on what the grievances were about.
However, hearing documents supplied to NZME show a raft of allegations including constant belittling criticism, "being treated like s***", smoking on the job, dishonesty, consuming alcohol at work, stealing, unjustified dismissal, intimidating behaviour and loss of wages.
The biggest awards were usually compensation, arrears or lost wages.
The three largest pay-outs awarded by the authority in the Bay of Plenty under these categories against employers were Phil's Place which was owned at the time by AC/DC drummer Philip Rudd.
Three employees were paid a total of $45,000 in 2014 in compensation.
Adventure Playground Rotorua Ltd was ordered to pay $26,647.71 in wage arrears to Shaun Issac on June 25, 2019 and Harrisons Fine Art Ltd was ordered to pay $31,833.50 in lost wages to Gaye Carrothers on April 10, 2013.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said employment laws have become very complex and intimidating for some employers.
''Business owners absolutely need to know the general dos and don'ts of employing staff as employing staff is a big part of your business.''
There were bad employers and bad employees, he said.
Cowley believed it was critical the recruitment process was robust to avoid expensive hassles later.
If an employer did face a difficult situation with a staff member it was often better to seek professional help, ''for the sake of a few thousand dollars to avoid an expensive personal grievance''.
''For instance, there are plenty of options to purchase the latest best practice staff policies, technology to streamline staff performance meetings, and calling in HR advisers for serious matters before employers do or say something that will cost them more than the professional advice.''
Your HR Partners director Megan Davies said the field of human resources has evolved dramatically over recent years.
''HR professionals play an important role in enabling and building talent, creating and sustaining positive workplace cultures and designing innovative people-related strategies to support business success.
''It is becoming increasingly common that employees are seeking an employer that they feel proud to work for, who has a purpose, values that align with their own, and where they feel they belong. It is no longer simply just a job.''
She said it was important to set people up for success and recognise and reward achievement.
In situations where underperformance, misconduct or serious misconduct does occur, it was vital to address the issue as soon as possible, she said.
''Care needs to be taken to ensure that you are acting in good faith and following employment legislation and case law.''
Talent ID Rotorua/Tauranga director Kellie Hamlett said it was quite a minefield for employers and compliance was important.
''Time and time again we hear from employers that may have skipped part of the process and sometimes it works in their favour but more often than not it doesn't. I say to all my employers the biggest thing you can give the process is time.
"Do those reference, police and credit checks, do your critical compliance and make sure the paperwork is spot on," she said.
Skills tests, aptitude or psychometric testing might also be required.
''On their own, you're not going to get a full picture but together, they work in conjunction to give you an insight to what type of person you are employing.
''One of my other sayings is there is a 30 per cent grey area with candidates so there is always going to be something that comes up but at least you know you have done everything you can to give that person the best opportunity of success in your business.''
MBIE Employment Service general manager Katherine MacNeill said it was a primary employment regulator, supporting productive employment relationships and maintaining minimum employment standards.
Statistics reveal in 2020, the service centre answered 93,873 employment-related calls and 16,458 emails nationally.
In 2019 the service centre answered 64,692 employment-related calls and 10,949 emails.
''Our most common call reasons fluctuate throughout the year depending on activity within the employment sector. July 2020 has seen a high volume of wage subsidy and redundancy queries [most of them could be resolved by providing information] in comparison to July 2019 where the top query was annual holiday entitlements.''