The Employment Relations Authority has rejected a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal of a retail assistant.  The employee claimed she was on regular hours of employment and when she advised the employer that she was pregnant the employer did not offer her any further shifts.

The ERA found however that the employee was employed on a casual basis and no obligation to accept work when offered and no obligation on the employer to offer any shifts.  The claim for a dismissal therefore failed as the employer was not obligated to offer any further work to the employee.

The sting in the tail though for the employer is that the ERA commented adversely on the employer’s failure to provide a written employment agreement for the employee, paid the employee under the table and did not deduct PAYE and did not file employer monthly statements with the IRD.  The employer also failed to discuss KiwiSaver and did not pay holiday pay or the minimum wage.

No doubt following the decision the employer can expect a visit from both the IRD and the Labour Department with prosecutions the possible outcome.  Failing to comply with your obligations as an employer and then getting into a public fight with an employee where the outcome is reported in the media and in official publications is perhaps not the smartest move when attempting to pay employees under the table.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer