The Employment Relations Authority has upheld an unjustified dismissal claim because the information relied upon by the employer was unreliable.

A client of the employer was seriously injured while in the employer’s care, such as they had to be hospitalised.  However, an independent investigation could not conclude that the injury occurred while the client was under the care of the particular employee. 

Several months later a manager decided to enquire further into the incident and talked to the Police who had originally investigated the injuries.  The Police provided verbal information to the manager, but would not release the pathologist’s report as to the timing of the injuries.  Although the pathologist gave a likely time of the injuries, they could not be sure as to when the injuries had occurred.  The manager of the employer carried out a further investigation and relied on the second hand Police information, incorrectly attributing an exact time of injury to the pathologist.

The ERA held that the manager should not have relied on second hand information, but should have obtained and read the pathologist’s report themselves.  Given the serious consequences of an employee losing their livelihood, it was necessary that the information be very reliable and that was not the case here.

The ERA awarded $15,000 compensation to the employee.

Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer