An employee has recently been awarded $4000 by the Employment Relations Authority for the hurt and humiliation he experienced after being dismissed by text on his day off.

The employee was called on a Sunday by his employer to discuss work related issues, however he was with friends and was unhappy to have the conversation at that time.  He arranged to have a meeting at work the following day to discuss the employer’s issues. The employer said the response over the phone was rude so he sent a text message telling his employee not to come back to work. The employee described the dismissal as “a kick in the guts” as he was expecting to discuss the issues the next day.

In the evidence the employer says that there were issues with the employee’s experience and attitude and when he was asked to perform other tasks it was not met with a good response. However the Authority found that while these may have been factors that lead to the abrupt dismissal by text, there were no procedural steps to address the employee’s behavior.

The dismissal was found to be procedurally and substantively unjustified and the employee was awarded two weeks lost wages (until he was able to secure a new job) as well as the $4000 compensation for his hurt and humiliation. Employers should deal with performance or discipline issues by a proper process. Failing to do so will be an expensive lesson. If the employee had failed to obtain another job so quickly the compensation could have been much higher for lost wages.