The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has upheld the decision of an employer to dismiss an employee after an accident at work, and rejected the employee’s unjustified dismissal personal grievance claim. 

The employee had breached the employer’s drug policy, being 70 times over the employer’s acceptable limit. 

The employee argued that there was no evidence that he was impaired at the time of the accident.  However, the employee did not dispute that he had breached the employer’s drug use policy. The employer decided to dismiss the employee following a full investigation.   

The employee believed that a final written warning was appropriate, but the ERA held that the employee had an opportunity to respond to the employer’s preliminary decision to terminate the employment, so a fair process was followed, and the dismissal was a decision a fair and reasonable employer could make in the circumstances. 

This was a case where an employer followed the proper process when taking disciplinary action against an employee, including putting the allegations to the employee, allowing the employee to respond, and genuinely considering the employee’s explanation before making a decision. 

An employer may terminate an employment relationship, even where the employee has a ‘good work record’, but the decision must be reasonable and after the employer has followed a proper process.

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