The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a personal grievance for unjustified disadvantage following an employee requesting that he be paid the wages he was owed for shifts worked.  The employer’s response was a series of abusive and racist texts telling the employee to return to his home country in rather colourful language.   In addition to the failure to pay any wages the employer had required the employee to pay it $250 for a uniform which it then did not provide to the employee.

The ERA awarded lost wages plus $2,250 compensation for hurt and humiliation and also awarded a penalty of $1,000 to be paid to the employee by the employer. 

From comments of the Employment Relations Authority it appears that the employee could have obtained orders for a lot more had he made a claim for unjustified dismissal and/or had sought higher penalties or compensation for the racist and abusive behaviour of the employer.  Unfortunately the employee was self-represented and may therefore not have been aware of the sort of levels of penalties and damages he could have sought.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer