The Employment Relations Authority has declined to reinstate a wrongfully dismissed employee because the managers who would be responsible for overseeing her did not want her back, it would be too onerous to put mechanisms in place to scrutinise her work, and the employee was not capable of performing at the required level.

The employee was awarded 14 weeks pay and compensation of $12,500 plus costs.  This was because the employer had treated an incident as a misconduct matter when it should have been made part of ongoing performance management process.  It related to the way the employee handled interactions with a client at a meeting.

The employee was on a final warning for other disciplinary matters and so was sacked for the fresh incident (which on its own was not serious enough to warrant dismissal).  The ERA held that the incident was performance related and so should not have been handled as discipline.
It seems that the employer had reached the point of wanting the employee out following a further event after continual disciplinary findings (with a final warning in place) and a performance management plan being implemented.  If the performance process had been used instead of discipline they may have achieved the same result and saved a lot of money and disruption.  The disciplinary process was so drawn out it took from May, when the incident occurred, until December when she was dismissed.

Disciplinary and performance processes do not have to be that long.  If you need help with any issues give me a call on (04) 473 6850.