The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $26,000 after finding that they had unjustifiably disadvantaged the employee throughout the course of his employment.

The employee worked for the employer for just under four years. During this time, the employee was subjected to swearing, anger and yelling from his supervisor. The employee claimed that he had been experiencing this kind of conduct from the six month mark of his employment, until his resignation.

The tension in the work place escalated towards the end of the employment relationship, causing the employee to reach his breaking point. The employee informed his supervisor that he and his colleagues would be unable to finish their assigned task by the end of the work day. In response, the supervisor told him to stay late to finish it, cussing at him in the process.

This, as well as numerous other instances of the employee being insulted and sworn at led the employee to resign from his job. The employee resigned by sending the employer an email that highlighted the supervisors conduct, and stated that the employee was suffering as a result.

The employee filed claims of both unjustified dismissal and unjustified disadvantage in the Authority.

To decide whether the employee had been unjustifiably dismissed, the Authority had to determine whether the employer had breached their duty to the employee, and whether this breach caused the employee to resign.

It was decided that because the employee had set up his own business, and had foregone a meeting to discuss potential remedies with the employer, that he had planned his resignation, and that he was therefore not constructively dismissed.

However, the Authority decided that the employee had been disadvantaged during the course of his employment. The treatment of the employee was not how a reasonable employer would have acted. It was decided that this constituted unjustified disadvantage, and that the employee’s claim was therefore made out.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay $20,000 as compensation for the hurt and humiliation caused by the actions of the employer, as well as $6,000 in unpaid wages.

If there is confusion around the correct process to follow when dismissing an employee, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area


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Litigation Team