An employee’s personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal has been upheld by the Employment Relations Authority.

The employee worked as a labourer and driver for his father in a small earth-moving and transport company. The father dismissed the son over an allegation that the son had been gossiping about the father’s business to clients. The dismissal occurred after a heated meeting.

The ERA said that the disagreement between the son and the father directly resulted in the termination of the employee’s contract with the company.

The ERA held that there was no evidence that the employer investigated the allegations, and the employee had been provided with no timely explanation of the reason for the meeting in order that he could prepare a response to it. Nor had the employee been advised of his right to have a support person present.

The employee’s father was also found not to have considered the employee’s explanations for the allegations.

The ERA awarded $8,600 for lost wages and $6,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.

Even if you are operating a family business you still need to follow the right procedures.