The Employment Relations Authority has found that an employee was unjustifiably dismissed following multiple allegations of serious misconduct.

The employee was fired for failing to follow a reasonable instruction, attempting to lure a client away from the business, carrying on her private business in the employer’s time, taking on secondary employment, failing to tell the employer of a potential customer and using a prepaid courier to send an item to a relative.

The ERA held that the employer had not properly disclosed its concerns to the employee and did not disclose the information it was relying on, so she could not prepare for the meeting. The employer also told the employee that the relationship had broken down and she should consider its options. This showed some predetermination of the outcome.

The allegation of not following an instruction had no basis as the employer had never given the alleged instruction. It merely assumed the employee knew.

The ERA found that there was no attempt to lure away a customer and no evidence that she had carried out her private work in the employer’s time. Nor was there any breach for taking on secondary employment as she had asked her employer in advance and they had agreed.

There was no improper use of the courier as the business promised free delivery nationwide to all customers.

The only allegation found to be substantiated was the failure to tell the employer of a potential customer. This was held to be a breach of good faith but not sufficiently serious to warrant dismissal. A warning would have been appropriate. The ERA reduced all remedies by 12.5% to reflect the employee’s contribution to her dismissal.

The employee was awarded $6125 for disadvantage, $21,875 compensation and $7184 for four months wages.

If the employer had properly investigated these allegations it would have realised that there was no substance to most of them and saved itself a lot of wasted time and money defending the personal grievance claim.

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