The Employment Court has increased damages awarded to an employee by the Employment Relations Authority for his unjustified dismissal.

The employee was employed in the public sector in a role which required him to have a driver’s licence. His employment agreement required him to inform his manager should his licence be suspended.

During his employment, the employee was involved in two incidents with a departmental vehicle which he did not advise his manager of. His licence was suspended but he continued to drive and receive compensation for the mileage. There had also been complaints from co-workers and significant frustrations around working with the man.

The Employment Relations Authority found that the manager had used the driving infringements as a means of engaging in a process to remove the man. Consequently, he did not approach the process with an open mind, and following email evidence did not act in good faith.

The Employment Court awarded the man 13 weeks lost wages and reduced the deduction for behaviour from 50% to 20% which increased his award by $5,400. The Court declined reinstatement.

When involved in a disciplinary process, it is essential proper procedure is followed and anyone involved acts in good faith, otherwise the employer runs the risk of employees raising personal grievances.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer