Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.
Some of you will know that at the HR Game Changer Conference in September it was announced that several senior HR people were starting a chartered institute. Soon after HRINZ issued myself and my colleagues Fraser and Lisa with a fairly threatening cease-and-desist letter.
For the record, none of us were contacted (either by phone or email) before HRINZ took legal action. What I find most disappointing about this is that I know most of the Board personally (Rachel Walker, Huma Faruqui, Julia Stones, Denise Hartley-Wilkins and Rowan Tonkin) yet they decided legal action was the very first step to take.
Chris Til said on LinkedIn that he had talked to people about it. He hadn’t. The email and conversation he was referring to was back in May with myself, when HRINZ banned us from advertising the HR Game Changer Conference in the HR magazine. It was nothing to do with a new institute being formed.
I have asked the National Board for an apology for this misrepresentation. They have said they stand by Chris’s actions.
After we got the letter, we didn’t agree with the points raised (if you want to have a read just click here) – but for us, it wasn’t about the name.
Everyone understands that a Chartered Accountant has qualifications, skills and experience in accounting and keeps their knowledge up to date. Many CEO’s and managers don’t seem to think any skills or experience are required to work in HR, or if they do, they’re not sure what those are. If HR became a chartered profession – then it would be a big step to solving this issue. At the HRGC in the UK, what HR does wasn’t even discussed. They’ve had chartered status for many years.
So the name of the new entity was changed.
However HRINZ decided that even though we had ceased and desisted, they would still take us to the High Court first for an injunction, and then to argue we’d breached the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act and the Fair Trading Act.
Our High Court hearing about the injunction is scheduled for February. Our Barrister estimates the full case may be heard by the end of the year.
And the case is not just against Elephant, but also against myself, Fraser and Lisa personally.
By February it will have cost us around $20,000 in legal fees. And by the end will be much, much more.
I never imagined that the Institute that I was a member of for 10+ years, that I volunteered hundreds of hours of my time free of charge to, that I wrote free articles and blogs for, that I promoted in seminars, conferences and events – that they would decide rather than talking to me, they would sue me for tens of thousands of dollars and counting. Using HRINZ members money to do it.
I want to thank everyone who has contacted me and told me that they agree we need to be chartered, that HRINZ’s behaviour is appalling and that they are or have resigned – and that they are sorry that this is happening. A few people have asked me why I don’t drop the case. I can’t. I’m not the one pursuing it. HRINZ are.
I found HRINZ’s approach right from the start threatening and toxic. While I put a brave face on it, it has been incredibly upsetting to find that you can be treated like this. Especially when I’m not even one of the founders of the new entity. It has felt like bullying. It’s also amazing to me that in NZ anyone can sue you for something and you have to pay huge amounts to defend yourself. Even if we win the case and prove there was no case for HRINZ to take – we don’t get our money back.
On that note, if you would like to support us stand against this behaviour from HRINZ and help us financially, I have started a ‘Give A Little’ campaign for myself, Fraser and also for Lisa who as many of you know, also supported HRINZ for many years. Any contribution would be much appreciated:
And I’ll keep you all updated on the injunction hearing next month.