An employer successfully defended a personal grievance claim for unjustified disadvantage but still ended up significantly out of pocket.

The employee objected to being required to do tasks he said were not covered by his job description.  The employer believed they were clearly covered and insisted they be done.

The Employment Relations Authority held that all of the tasks were within the job description or not unreasonable for the employee to undertake given his role.  The claim was dismissed and costs awarded to the employer.

When seeking an award of costs the employer claimed to have spent over $23,000 on representation and sought an uplift in the costs to be awarded because the employee’s case was completely without merit (even the Union would not support the case being brought!)

The ERA refused to order increased costs and awarded costs of $3,500 for the hearing leaving the employer $20,000 out of pocket for winning.

At least they did not lose and have to pay the employee costs and damages but perhaps some form of mediated settlement process may have saved a lot of time and expense.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer