In a recent Employment Relations Authority case a driver of long standing took a personal grievance following his dismissal, and was reinstated, given four weeks pay and $4,000 compensation…

The ERA found major problems with the employer’s investigation of a complaint from a member of the public.  These faults included:

  • A failure to put to the employee all the allegations the employer relied on.  This meant the employee did not have a proper opportunity to respond.
  • A failure to properly assess the credibility of the complainant.  The employer tried to make contact to interview them but they did not respond.  As the complaint had been worded in very intemperate language and included threats of violence it should have put the employer on notice to check their reliability as a witness.  They preferred the complainant’s version even though this was denied by the employee.
  • A failure to tell the employee that they had not been able to interview the complainant.  This hiding of the facts was held to be a breach of good faith.
  • A failure to decide the case on the established facts.  Instead the employer had based it on prior complaints leading to a propensity to act in the way alleged.  This meant that the matter was predetermined instead of being approached with an open mind.

If the employer had properly investigated the matter they may have reached the same conclusion and the dismissal may have been upheld. If you need help with your disciplinary or performance processes call me for an initial chat on (04) 473 6850.