An employee recently won her personal grievance case for constructive dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority because of a misunderstanding by her employer.

The employee had gone on maternity leave and during that time the employer learned that the employee’s husband was moving to Australia to work.  The employer incorrectly assumed that the employee would also be leaving the country.

The employer went to the employee’s home and confronted her, and accused the employee of being deceitful and dishonest about returning to work. The employer also took back the work computer and mobile phone on the basis that the employee wouldn’t need them any more.

The employee had not been planning on leaving the country for some time, and had intended on returning to work, but confronted with the employer’s accusation resigned instead.

The ERA held that the employer was mistaken to believe that the employee was leaving, and mistaken that an employee had to give more than the contractual notice period.

The ERA awarded $20,000 lost wages and $9,000 damages for this costly misunderstanding.

If you need assistance dealing with maternity leave issues give me a call on (04) 473 6850.