Employers need to ensure that they get the disciplinary process right when dealing with issues arising out of employee behaviour. Failing to do so may give rise to a complaint against the employer at the Employment Relations Authority which can result in significant financial penalties.

In one case an employer was not happy with his employee’s ability to carry out work for a client. The employer suspended the employee for two days while carrying out an investigation.

During this time, the employee suffered serious stress and was given two weeks sick leave. Subsequently the employer dismissed the employee, providing the reason that this was necessary to retain a business contract with the client.

The employee brought a complaint to the ERA against the employer for unjustified dismissal.

The ERA found that the employer failed to complete the minimum steps required in a dismissal process and failed to properly investigate all of the claims made against the employee.

The ERA ordered the employer to pay $21,000 in lost wages, $16,000 in compensation for the hurt and humiliation suffered by the employee, and $4,000 as a penalty for failing to meet minimum employment standards.

In addition to making decisions that are reasonable, there are steps that an employer should follow when undertaking any disciplinary process regarding an employee. For more information,you can view our guide below: Disciplinary Process Guide The specific requirements of any agreement also need to be followed by the employer.


Alan Knowsley and Hanifa Kodirova.