An employee who was hired as a kitchen hand was found to be unjustifiably dismissed by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) which upheld the personal grievance.

The employee failed to make it to work on New Years Eve after a non-work related injury made him unable to work. On the 3rd of January the employee presented the manager a medical certificate, which the manager took and dismissed the employee on the spot for being unable to work.

The employment contract required four weeks notice on either side before the termination of employment. The ERA found that the dismissal was in breach of the contract. There was no proper process followed to justify the dismissal.

The ERA found the employer liable to pay $8,320 as reimbursement for the employee’s lost wages. The ERA also awarded the employee $1500 in compensation. This was limited because the employee did not participate fully in the mediation process.

Another issue was that the employer owned three separate restaurants and bars, all owned by three different companies and separately run. The employer transferred the employee between the different companies without changing any contracts. This is unlawful and employees must have separate employment contracts for every employer even if within a group.


Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer