An employee has been summarily dismissed after failing to immediately report a health and safety incident. The employee cleaned up the accident but did not report the incident until before his shift the next day.

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

During the disciplinary meeting the employer focussed on the employee’s failure to report the incident during the shift or at the end of his shift. No consideration was given to the employee’s assertion that he had reported the incident as soon as he arrived at work the next day. The employer did not indicate that had the incident been reported before the start of his next shift, the employee would not have been dismissed.

The ERA held that this information would have likely influenced the employee’s answers and the focus at the meeting. The ERA noted that this failure to disclose material information undermined the fairness of the process which was followed.

The ERA awarded 3 months lost wages plus $12,500 compensation to the employee for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer