An employee has failed in her claims against her former employer for unjustified dismissal and unlawful discrimination.

The employee worked as a casual employee. During her employment, she applied for a permanent role within the company but was unsuccessful.

Subsequently, the employer transferred its operations to another company of which it was a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The new employer initially offered work to the employee on the same terms, being ‘as and when required’. However, the company later amended its operations to no longer rely on casual employees. The employee was advised that she was no longer required to work in the future.

The employee mistakenly believed she was a permanent employee because she wore its uniform (even while working for the former employer), marketed and endorsed its products and brand name, and provided assistance to its operations.

An unusual aspect of these proceedings was that the employee sought to show that she was an employee of the company by wearing the company’s uniform and name badge throughout the hearing. The Employment Court was unconvinced.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) and the Employment Court found that the employee was employed on a causal basis where a new employment relationship was created each time the employee worked for the employer.

Accordingly, the Employment Court decided that the employee was not unjustifiably dismissed.

The employee’s other grounds were dismissed for various reasons, including that the workplace policies did not apply to her because, at the time, she was not an employee.

The employee had sought $150,000 compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to feelings, almost $100,000 in lost wages, and legal fees.

Instead the Employment Court decided the employer was entitled to an award of costs against the employee.

A casual employee has no guaranteed hours of work, no regular pattern of work, and no ongoing expectation of employment. Essentially, the employer does not have to offer work and the employee does not have to accept work.

Where a person is employed on a casual basis, it should be clearly outlined in his or her employment agreement.

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