The Employment Relations Authority has found that an employee was constructively dismissed after he resigned following receiving notice of a proposed redundancy.

The employee had raised a complaint with his employer of bullying and threatening behaviour by the employer.  The same day the employer responded with a proposed redundancy.  The ERA found that the proposed redundancy was not genuine and was entered into for an improper reason.  As a result the resignation of the employee was a constructive dismissal.

The employee was awarded $3,690 lost wages plus $9,000 for hurt and humiliation.

In addition the employer was fined $2,000 for its breach of the Employment Agreement by the improper redundancy process.

The employer was also criticised for failing to agree to attend mediation to attempt resolution of the matter.  Attending mediation was included as a term of the Employment Agreement and the employer was therefore obliged to attempt resolution at mediation.

The employer was also criticised for refusing to attend mediation because the employee got the legal name of the employer incorrect in his request for mediation.  The ERA said the employer should not have taken that point, but should have corrected the employee as to the legal name of employer and agreed to attend mediation.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer Wellington