The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay an employee $15,000 for unjustified dismissal.

The employee worked part-time for the employer. The employee asked the employer for time off. The employer agreed and arranged for another employee to cover her hours.

Shortly before returning to work, the employer messaged the employee and told her that the person covering her hours would continue to do so. The employee was told that there were no hours available upon her return.

The employer also raised a number of performance issues that it claimed contributed to its decision not to offer further work.

The Authority held that by telling the employee that there was no work for her, the employer unjustifiably dismissed the employee.

The Authority explained that because the employee was employed on a part-time permanent basis, the employer had an obligation to provide her work upon her return.

Additionally, since a correct process was not followed in relation to the performance issues, the employer could not justify its decision stop offering the employee work on this basis.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay the employee $15,000 in compensation.

It is important that employers understand their obligations towards their employees. Failure to follow the correct processes, or act in accordance with employment agreements, may result in expensive personal grievances.

If an employer is unsure how to correctly carry out a disciplinary, redundancy, or performance improvement process, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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