The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $9,000 after their dismissal of an employee was decided to be unjustified. The employee raised the personal grievance claim after the employer failed to meet its obligations.

When the employee was hired, she was told that she was a casual employee and was given an employment agreement to sign. The employee requested amendments to be made to the agreement before she would sign, but the employer failed to implement these amendments, and no agreement was signed.

Soon after, the IRD informed the employer that the employee had provided an IRD number that wasn’t hers. The employee was informed of this, and called the IRD to fix the situation. She was told that they would contact the employer with a solution.

After this, the employee contacted the employer multiple times, but received no response to these texts. The employee was never offered any more work, and subsequently resigned.

The Authority had to firstly decide whether the employee was employed on a casual, or permanent basis. If the employee was employed on a casual basis, then the employer was under no obligation to offer her work. This would mean that the employee was not unjustifiably dismissed.

The employer posted a roster every week with the employees’ working hours. She didn’t have input into this decision, and only had a limited right to refuse the work. It was decided on this basis that the employee was permanent.

The Authority then decided that the dismissal was unjustified. The employer had breached their obligation to act in good faith, by simply ignoring the employee rather than initiating the required dismissal process.

Even though the employee resigned, the Authority decided that the resignation was reasonably foreseeable as a result of the employer’s conduct, and that the employee was constructively dismissed.

The employer was ordered to pay $1,100 in unpaid wages and holiday pay, $6,000 for as compensation for hurt and humiliation, and a $2,000 penalty.

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.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley & Matthew Binnie

Litigation Team