An employee working in a buffet restaurant has been dismissed for deliberately throwing food and serviettes on the floor, and smearing cream on the buffet area at the end of the night. The employee was also alleged to have made racist comments in the workplace.

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 not investigating the allegations that the employee had made offensive remarks, and by not giving the employee an opportunity to comment on the allegations, before making a decision.

The ERA found that the employer’s dismissal process was flawed. The employee was given no advance notification of the disciplinary proceedings and was not provided with any information. The employee had no support person and was dismissed by text before the conclusion of the disciplinary process.

The ERA ordered the employer to pay the employee one months’ lost wages plus $4,000 compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.