ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

Employment Court grants another group of ex-Gloriavale members urgent hearing

Author
Belinda Feek, Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 28 Mar 2022, 2:30pm
Pearl Valor (nee Hope) is one of six former Gloriavale residents who have just won an injunction to have their employment hearing heard as a matter of urgency. (Photo / TVNZ)
Pearl Valor (nee Hope) is one of six former Gloriavale residents who have just won an injunction to have their employment hearing heard as a matter of urgency. (Photo / TVNZ)

Employment Court grants another group of ex-Gloriavale members urgent hearing

Author
Belinda Feek, Open Justice,
Publish Date
Mon, 28 Mar 2022, 2:30pm

A second group of former Gloriavale residents have won a bid to have their employment status heard in the Employment Court.

A three week hearing is now being organised to determine whether Serenity Pilgrim, Anna Courage, Rose Standtrue, Crystal Loyal, Pearl Valor and Virginia Courage were employees or volunteers during their time at Gloriavale.

The successful application comes after a group of former residents had their case heard in the Employment Court last month.

Leavers Hosea Courage, Daniel Pilgrim and Levi Courage all gave evidence in court about their time at Gloriavale after they left school and worked at the commune and in Gloriavale-owned businesses during their teenage years.

That followed multiple inquiries into the employment status of people living and working at Gloriavale.

The Labour Inspectorate investigated in 2017 after concerns raised by Charities Services, and again in 2020, after allegations of long working hours were made by two community members.

The results of both inquiries showed that no employment relationships existed within Gloriavale as defined by New Zealand employment law - that members of Gloriavale cannot currently be considered employees.

The latest group to now have their case heard in court is Gloriavale senior members, Howard Temple, Fervent Stedfast, Enoch Upright, Samuel Valor, Faithful Pilgrim, Noah Hopeful and Stephen Standfast.

They opposed the application for urgency and submitted through their lawyer, that none of the plaintiffs lived at Gloriavale so there was no direct threat of ongoing harm to them.

It was also pointed out that all but two of the plaintiffs had lived outside of Gloriavale for over two years but had only just filed proceedings now.

The defendants submitted the concerns regarding current residents were "unsubstantiated" and amounted to hearsay statements that were inadmissible and ought to be put to one side.

However, the complainants' urgency application was put forward on the basis that other women, including young girls, who were still living in the Gloriavale Christian Community were being subjected to the same treatment as they alleged to have endured and that gave rise to serious concerns about their ongoing safety.

In making her decision, Judge Christina Inglis said she didn't accept the plaintiffs' submission that the matter wasn't urgent because the plaintiffs no longer lived at Gloriavale.

"In my view, a broader approach is required, consistently with the underlying objectives of the Act and the functions of the Court.

"A former New Zealand Police detective has made an affirmation setting out a number of concerns following various interviews which she deposes she has undertaken with former and current residents of Gloriavale.

"She deposes that there are serious health and safety issues for females currently residing in Gloriavale, including in respect of those said to be in the same position that the plaintiffs allege they were in."

Judge Inglis said while there was no direct evidence, the evidence that was before the court supported the application for urgency.

"More broadly, I did not understand the second defendants to be contending that females were not continuing to work within the kitchen and more generally within Gloriavale.

"Any findings as to the employment status of the plaintiffs may have a broader impact. It is, in my view, desirable for such issues to be dealt with promptly."

Judge Inglis said she found the granting of the application "both necessary and just".

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you