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

The employee was dismissed after she was involved in a “significant drinking session” at her Branch office where the presence and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited. Twelve other staff were also disciplined because of the incident.

The ERA held that the employer’s investigation of the matter was fundamentally deficient as the employer predetermined the outcome of the disciplinary process, and failed to share information concerning the incident with the employee. Consequently, the employee had no opportunity to respond to the information and could not challenge or use it to support her assertions that she did not participate in the drinking. The ERA also noted that the employee was not given the opportunity to respond to the employer’s conclusion that she had breached NZ Post’s Alcohol and Drug Policy, and found that she had never been given a copy of the Policy.

The ERA ordered the employee be reinstated to her previous position as she had been a postie for nine years and was competent at her job and had limited job opportunities.

The ERA awarded over $5,500 for lost wages plus $2,000 compensation for distress.