A recent Employment Relations Authority hearing has awarded an employee over $12,600 lost wages, $4,600 maternity leave pay and $10,000 compensation for breaches of process.

The employee had raised numerous complaints about overwork and the poor performance of her manager.  She was supported by other managers in these complaints.   Instead of properly dealing with the issues raised, the employer set about forcing her resignation by advising that she would no longer be working in her full time permanent management role, but would be offered a fixed term role at a lower level until she went on maternity leave.

Unsurprisingly, the employee rejected this approach and wished to retain her permanent position.  The employer responded by announcing her replacement and suspending her without consultation.  She then resigned and took a constructive dismissal claim to the ERA.

The ERA held that the employer’s actions in suspending without consultation and failing to properly deal with the issues were not the actions of a fair and reasonable employer.  It was also held that their actions were designed to effect a resignation and amounted to a constructive dismissal.

The hurt and humiliation suffered was on the high side and backed up by medical evidence so $10,000 was awarded.  The employee’s stress was made worse by fearing for the safety of her unborn child.

If the employer had not forced the employee to resign she would have qualified for the government maternity leave pay.  The employer was ordered to pay an equivalent amount of $4,600.

This case shows an appalling approach by the employer and sadly this same employer has faced several other claims for their treatment of staff in recent times.

If there are issues with staff then these need to be dealt with fairly and reasonably.  Genuine concerns about performance or discipline can be dealt with quickly and effectively with expert advice.

If you need help give me a call on (04) 473 6850 or the number below.