The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal and ordered an employer to pay an employee over $28,600.

Over the time that the employee worked for the employer, there were concerns about his work performance.

The employer spoke with the employee on each occasion and spent time with him to address the issues. When the performance did not improve, the employer gave the employee several warnings.

A final incident occurred when the employer left the employee to work on equipment. The employee did not complete the task and the employer found the equipment in an unsafe state. The employer sent the employee a message dismissing him.

The Authority held that the employer unjustifiably dismissed the employee. It explained that the employer could not dismiss the employee as a result of underperformance as no proper process was followed to help him improve, and there were no expectations set for him to meet.

Additionally, after the final incident, no investigation was carried out, and the employee was not given any opportunity to comment prior to the employer dismissing him.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay the employee $13,500 in compensation, and $7,170 in lost wages.

The Authority also ordered the employer to pay $8,000 for breaching their good faith obligations by failing to meet the standard for a fair process in the dismissal. The employee was awarded $6,000 and $2,000 was ordered to be paid to the Crown.

It is important that proper processes are followed in relation to all performance and disciplinary issues. Failure to do so may result in a potentially expensive personal grievance.

If the employer in this case followed the correct processes, it could have quite easily avoided paying almost $29,000.

If there are concerns that your employment processes are not sufficiently robust to manage any employment issues that may arise in your business, it pays to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced 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.