An Employer was ordered to pay just over $27,000 to an Employee of two months after the Employment Relations Authority concluded that the Employer had unjustifiably dismissed the Employee.

The Employee raised a personal grievance in the ERA and claimed that the Employer did not pay the correct wages and later dismissed the Employee.

The penalties applied from the ERA ended up being significant for the claim, as the Employer decided not to show up for the hearing. The ERA delayed the hearing in case the Employer and/or their representative had been delayed in traffic or were having difficulty finding a park but it was later found to be clear that they had no intention of attending.

When a party does not attend a hearing, the ERA is required to follow through as if both parties are present. They even have to consider the information that both parties could or would have brought to light.

In the end, the ERA concluded that the Employee had been unjustifiably dismissed and ordered an award of $9,000 in lost wages, $10,000 in compensation for hurt and humiliation, a covering of legal fees, and $3,121 in unpaid wages and holiday pay.

In addition to the award, the Employer was penalised $2,000, which was to be paid to the Employee, for breaching the Employment Relations Act.

This was an overall costly outcome for an Employer who decided that participating and engaging in the personal grievance process wasn’t worth their time. This decision did not work out well for the Employer.

If legal advice had been taken in the process of the hearing or for paying out the wages correctly, and before failing to defend their claim in court, the outcome could have been much more favourable for the Employer.

If you would like to talk to someone about how to best follow fair processes when dealing with Employment issues, please feel welcome to contact Lynda Mathieson at Mathieson Chartered Accountants. Lynda is more than equipped to help navigate you through the sometimes-challenging changes in our New Zealand Employment Law.

Ph (03) 307 6455  Cell 027 5544747