An employee who worked as a bar tender has had her personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal upheld by the Employment Relations Authority.

The dispute arose when the employee was left working by herself on a Saturday night after a fellow employee failed to turn up to work. The employer was drinking at the bar and complained that she was too slow and that customers were left waiting for drinks. At closing, the employer’s friend started serving alcohol to customers and sexually harassed the employee. The employee complained to the Duty Manager who ignored her and told her that she was unfriendly and could not take a joke. At the end of her shift the employee left despite the Duty Manager thinking that she should have stayed on to help. The next Friday when she arrived for her shift she was dismissed by her employer.

The ERA held that the employer failed to act as a fair and reasonable employer would in the circumstances by following no process when terminating the employee and by dismissing her in a car park, without warning. The ERA also noted that the employee failed to give the employee any opportunity to respond to concerns that he might have had about her behaviour.

The ERA stated that the employer could not rely on the 90 trial period as a reason for justifying his actions.

The ERA awarded $4,000 compensation and over $70 for a filing fee.