The Employment Court has awarded penalties of $12,000 against the director of an employer that has gone into liquidation.  The Labour Inspector was bringing a claim against the employer for unpaid wages and shortly before the hearing two employee witnesses were visited by apparent gang members with threats that they should withdraw their accusations and not attend the Employment Relations Authority hearings.

The Employment Court was satisfied that the director of the company arranged for the threats to be made by the gang members and imposed the penalties on the director personally to deter them and others from such behaviour which was an obstruction of justice.  The Police in this case had declined to prosecute due to the difficulty of proving that the employer was behind the threats beyond reasonable doubt.  However, in the Employment Court the standard required was only on the balance of probabilities and was therefore easier for the Labour Inspector to prove.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer