The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $106,000 to husband and wife employees who were both dismissed with no proper process.  The ERA found that the employer presented each employee with new employment agreements for lesser roles than their current employment agreement and demanded that these be signed.  The employees both refused to sign the agreements and were then dismissed by the employer with no process being followed.  Even if a process had been followed there was no justification for dismissal, because changes to employment agreements cannot be unilaterally imposed by an employer.

The ERA awarded over $62,000 for lost wages since the dismissals plus $8,600 for unpaid wages from the period when they were employed and $30,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation suffered by the employees from the manner of their dismissal.

The ERA also warned the directors of the employing company that if the company did not pay the damages awarded that the directors could be held personally liable and be subject to imprisonment.

Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer