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John Brosnan reminds everyone that the boss is in charge of the workplace. If it is safe, legal and the boss wants done, then it should be done properly

Rural News
John Brosnan reminds everyone that the boss is in charge of the workplace. If it is safe, legal and the boss wants done, then it should be done properly

By John Brosnan*

One of the continual issues that come up between employers and employees is employees who feel it is ok to argue with the boss, disagree with instructions, feel they can tell the boss that they know better, argue and in some of the more extreme situations – take offence that the boss has dared to attempt to set guidelines around what they are doing.

If this has not happened to you on farm I am sure that you will know someone that it has happened to.

And it gets compounded when the employee also behaves in a manner that provokes the employer and pushes a few of those buttons.

When the buttons get pushed, people react then the fall out can lead to all sorts of stressful situations including mediations.

However if the employer recalls that when provoked remain calm, wander away if needed until you can deal with the issue and not the personality or temperament, but you still have quite a stressful situation to deal with don’t you?

After all, doing the smart thing and walking away from provocation has not resolved the issue of an employee who is not following instructions.

Well the answer is very straightforward.

Within almost every employment agreement – and certainly within the Federated Farmers agreements, you will find a clause with the wording ... ”the employee agrees to fulfil other duties that, although not specified……, provided that such are not unlawful or unsafe.”

And furthermore the Employment Relations Act 2000 itself requires employees to carry out all tasks in good faith, which certainly does not include arguing or refusing requests.

Avoiding all the legal phrasing that is within the Act, to make this clear for all the basic statement is that if the boss wants a job done and he wants it done his way then the employee is obligated to simply do it and do it well.

Of course where communication is open a discussion of suggestions and asking if it is ok to do the task in another manner can be held but if the employer still wants it done their way – then done their way it is and done cheerfully.

This is one of the key "boundaries" that I usually remind a new employee of when going through the employment agreement terms with them.

If you haven’t done this, then doing so as a part of your orientation or just during a coffee catch up when talking farm is a good thing.

Just so that when things are really busy on farm and there is not time for a lot of discussion, the guideline is clear, if it is safe, legal and the boss wants done, then the employee smiles and does it.


John Brosnan is a business development adviser at CooperAitken Ltd, accountants in Morrinsville and Matamata. You can contact him here

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 I must confesss as a farmer, there are very few farmers in the area I would like to work for.



Actually John, as a "boss"  I can tell you it is no longer the boss in charge of the workplace it is the government and all their tentacles and their reaction to public/media pressure.

Also, unless you have infamous "clause #6" that you have listed, the employee only has to fulfil their contracted services.
    (The "clause #6" was a term that popped up from the tendancy for job contracts to list keys tasks into 5 bullet points, plus "and anything else safe and legal that is  properly asked of the employee")