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Employment law – new Gloriavale case commentary

Content updates

Commentary on recent employment law decisions relating to the Gloriavale Christian Community is included in the latest updating of Employment Law (online ed, Thomson Reuters) on Westlaw New Zealand.

Temple v Pilgrim (CA)

In Temple v Pilgrim [2023] NZCA 631, an application for leave to appeal from an Employment Court decision that six female “Teams” members at Gloriavale were employees (Pilgrim v Attorney-General [2023] NZEmpC 105, [2023] ERNZ 454), the Court of Appeal declined to grant leave on four questions of law identified by the leave applicants. However, the Court invited submissions on whether leave should be granted on two “narrower questions of law which may have wider significance for religious or volunteer organisations” (at [17]), namely:

“(a) whether the respondents in this case worked for hire or reward; and

“(b) if not, whether they were volunteers for purposes of s 6(1)(c) [of the Employment Relations Act 2000].”

Temple is noted in Employment Law commentary under s 6 of the 2000 Act at [ER6.02(1)(b)], [ER6.03(4)], [ER6.03(26)(b)], [ER6.07(2)] and [ER6.08].


Pilgrim v Attorney-General (No 2) (EmpC)

In Pilgrim v Attorney-General (No 2) [2023] NZEmpC 227, the Employment Court decided the issue that had been adjourned in its earlier Pilgrim decision, namely the identity of the employer of the Teams members. The Court concluded that “the Overseeing Shepherd was the employer during the periods that each of the plaintiffs worked on the Teams” (at [57]). Whether the Overseeing Shepherd was seen as a role, or as a succession of individuals who held the role, did not affect the result:

“[54] Regardless of how the analysis is approached, the outcome is the same. The individual that holds the role of Overseeing Shepherd is liable to account for any alleged breaches against the plaintiff employees.”

Pilgrim (No 2) is noted in Employment Law commentary at [ER6.08], [ER189.02] and [ER221.02(1)].


For all the latest updating in Employment Law, see Employment Law — What’s New.

By Kevin Leary

Kevin Leary is a Senior Legal Editor in the New Zealand Analytical Law team at Thomson Reuters. He has more than 20 years' experience as an editor of bound books, looseleafs, precedents and their digital equivalents.

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