The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $15,000 after they fired their employee during a heated argument. The employee brought a personal grievance claim to the Authority claiming unjustified dismissal.

The employee raised the issue of wages to his employer shortly after the start of his employment, and a heated argument ensued. This argument ended with the employer telling the employee to “bugger off” at which point the employee left the premises. The employer didn’t take any further steps to reconcile, and the employee never returned to work.

When assessing whether a dismissal is unjustified, the Authority asks whether the employer has acted in a fair and reasonable way. The Authority decided that the employee brought up valid concerns about fair wages, and that this is not a reason to dismiss an employee. Further to this, the Authority stated that a fair and reasonable employer would have followed up with the employee in an attempt to reconcile.

The Authority decided that the dismissal was unjustified, and ordered the employee to pay $5,000 as compensation for lost earnings, $8,000 as compensation for humiliation and hurt caused by the dismissal, and $2,000 costs.

If there is confusion around the dismissal process, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.