An employee has been dismissed after being delayed on his return back to New Zealand after visiting family overseas. The employee was not back in time to complete his rostered shift and was subsequently dismissed for abandoning his employment.

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

The ERA held that the employee had not abandoned his employment as the employer knew where the employee was and that he intended on returning.

The ERA found that the real reason behind the employer’s decision to dismiss the employee was performance concerns. These concerns were not put to the employee, who had no opportunity to respond to them before the decision to terminate was made.

The ERA held that the dismissal was ultimately predetermined as the employer had had enough of the employee and his performance.

The employee was awarded over $9,700 for lost wages plus $5,000 in compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.