An employee had contracted pneumonia and was not fit to work for seven days. During this time the employer requested that the employee attend work “if he felt up to it”. The employee did not respond to the employer’s request.

Once the employee returned to work an incident took place between the employer and the employee. The employee was then diagnosed with an increased level of anxiety and was not fit to work for a further seven days.

The employee provided a medical certificate to the employer by email.

Without seeing the employee’s email, the employer texted the employee alleging that he had abandoned his employment. The employee said that he had not abandoned his employment because he had provided a medical certificate.

Ultimately, the employee felt forced to resign due to the incident with the employer.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) awarded the employee over $20,000 in lost wages and compensation.

It is not uncommon for employment agreements to contain provisions about abandonment of employment.

Abandonment occurs when an employee leaves a workplace with no intention of returning.

The employer is required to make an attempt to contact the employee before the employment is terminated by reason of abandonment.

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