In a recent Employment Relations Authority case an employee has been awarded $5,000 damages plus lost wages of over $3,000 after the employer claimed the employee had abandoned her employment.

The employee and employer had a heated argument, and the employee claimed she was fired on the spot.  The employer claimed that the employee stormed off and abandoned her employment.

The ERA ruled that even if the employee had stormed off, the employer should have allowed a cooling off period and followed up to find out if the employee had actually abandoned her employment.  A failure to do so resulted in it being dismissal.

As no process had been followed the dismissal was unjustified.

An expensive lesson for the employer, that could have been avoided by simply checking with the employee the next day.