In a recent Employment Relations Authority hearing the wages clerk at a social services provider was found to have made payments of special bonuses and wages to herself. 

However, the employer’s poor process for investigation and decision resulted in an award of $6,000 compensation (reduced to $4,000 for the employee’s contribution to the situation).

The employer made a decision to suspend the employee pending the investigation, but did not give the employee any opportunity to comment on that suspension before it was made.

The employer also did not give the employee the opportunity to be heard by those making the decision on whether the allegations were correct or not.  The employee only got to explain her version of events to two investigators who then reported back to the Board.  The employee should always be given the opportunity to speak directly to those making the decision.

The employee was not given any opportunity to give input into what the penalty imposed should be. 

The Board just made the decision to terminate her employment with no opportunity to make submissions. 

The ERA held that the decision to dismiss might not have been made if the employee had been able to make submissions, and the termination was therefore unjustified.

If you need help getting the disciplinary process right give me a call on 04 473 6850.