An employee working as a manager aggravated an old back injury while lifting some boxes at work. The employee provided her employer with medical certificates allowing her time off work but was dismissed soon after for faking the injury.

The Employment Relations Authority upheld the employee’s personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal.

The ERA held that the employer failed to act as a fair and reasonable employer could in all of the circumstances by failing to discuss its concerns with the employee who was completely unaware that the legitimacy of her injury was at issue.

The ERA also found that the employer had failed to properly investigate their concerns about the alleged dishonesty, and noted that the employer could have requested the employee to undertake another medical examination.

The ERA ordered the employer to pay the employee $15,250 in lost wages and KiwiSaver payments plus $8,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.