After just two days of employment an employee was sent a text message… “no need to come in … tomorrow”.  When the employee responded asking what was happening, the employer texted back “… feel free to get another job”.

It turned out that $52.36 was missing from the till, and that the employer had decided that the new employee must have taken it!

The Employment Relations Authority heard the employee’s personal grievance and found that there was no evidence to support any allegation of theft.  As a result there was no way the employer could have justified its decision to dismiss the employee.

Wherever an employer makes a decision about an employee, that decision must be one that a fair and reasonable employer could have made in all the circumstances.  New Zealand law requires the employer to follow a particular process in coming to such a decision. Where that process is not followed it is presumed that the employer could not have made a fair and reasonable decision.

In this case the Authority found that there was absolutely no process…and the employee was dismissed by text!  As a consequence, the employer was ordered to pay more than $6,200 to the employee in lost wages, and for the hurt and humiliation suffered.