An employee has been dismissed after incurring $23,350 in data charges while on holiday in Sri Lanka. The data use was spread across a variety of apps including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

The Employment Relations Authority dismissed the employer’s claim to make the employee pay for the bill himself, and upheld the employee’s personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal.

The ERA held that the reasons for the employee’s dismissal were justifiable but found that the dismissal process was unfair. The employee was given no opportunity to explain why the phone bill was so large, and on investigation analysis showed that the use was consistent with sync usage rather than active internet browsing.

Employers must remember to consult with, and genuinely consider employee’s responses before dismissing them.

The ERA ordered the employer to pay $6,000 in compensation for loss of dignity and injury to feelings.