An employee raised a personal grievance of unjustified dismissal at the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) because he believed he was constructively dismissed.

After a few months of employment, the employer sent an email to the employee outlining their dissatisfaction with the employee’s conduct, claiming that other workers had “lost their respect and belief” in the employee. The email then went on to outline a reduction in the employee’s agreed hours of work, and a requirement to provide a weekly report to his manager. This email caused significant stress to the employee, such that he had to seek medical attention and go on sick leave.

While the employee was on leave, the employer starting delegating the employee’s tasks to another worker, and removed the employee’s access to the company’s correspondence, finances, and social media pages. The employer refused to engage in mediation with the employee, and did not make an effort to better the employment relationship with the employee. The employee later resigned.

The ERA stated that while an employer refusing to participate in mediation does not, of itself, constitute a basis for a claim of constructive dismissal, the employer had a duty to deal with their employee in good faith. It was a breach for the employer to not respond in a constructive manner and address the issues in a way which allowed for the employment relationship to continue. It was therefore found the employee was constructively dismissed.

The employer was ordered to pay $12,000 as compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to feelings, and $6,200 for lost wages as a result of the dismissal.


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