The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal of a mobile salesperson.  The employer engaged a mystery shopper to approach the sales truck and seek to make a cash purchase.

The salesperson made the sale but did not complete any paperwork because there were no forms or procedures for cash sales.  He called his manager who arranged to show him later that day what paperwork to complete.

When the salesperson arrived to meet his manager he was sent away.  The manager was dismissed for unrelated events so the salesperson never got the opportunity to be shown how to do the cash sale.

The employer then investigated the failure by the salesperson to complete the paperwork and dismissed him.

The ERA held the dismissal to be unjustified because:

  1. The employer failed to disclose during the disciplinary process that the customer was a “mystery shopper” and the employer therefore failed in its obligation of honest and open communication.
  2. The company did not have a form for cash sales and therefore the employee could have been confused as to what to do.  His explanation of seeking to learn the process from his manager should not have been ignored (or disbelieved).
  3. Company policies had not been finalised or brought to the employee’s attention.  If you are seeking to discipline a staff member for not following company procedures then you need to ensure your policies are formalised, brought to employees’ attention, and cover the situation you are concerned about.  The employer did none of these things and also failed to be honest in its disciplinary investigation.

If you need help give me a call on (04) 473 6850.