A wrongly sacked employee was awarded over $14,000 by the Employment Relations Authority in a recent case. The employer had received a written complaint from a customer alleging that the employee had been seen stealing cash.

The employee was questioned by the employer and denied the theft, but was sacked that day.

Unfortunately for the employer they had not told the employee the identity of the complainant, or provided a copy of the letter, and so the employee could not give information that would throw doubt on the validity of the allegation.

It transpired that the complainant was the spouse of another employee with whom the sacked employee had had a falling out.

The ERA awarded almost $7,000 in lost wages and $7,500 compensation.

Employers need to ensure that the employee accused of wrong-doing is provided with the information the employer has, so they can properly prepare to answer the allegations. This includes the name of the complainant and a copy of the letter. As can be seen from this case, the name of the complainant can be highly relevant to the truth of any allegations.

If you need help working your way through the disciplinary process please download our Guide to the Disciplinary Process at www.raineycollins.co.nz or call Alan Knowsley.