A manager’s claim for a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal has been upheld by the Employment Relations Authority.

The manager was dismissed following an audit into his expense claims.  The audit turned up 178 discrepancies and these were put to the manager for an explanation.

The employer decided to dismiss him despite his explanations.

The ERA found that they had:

  1. Not given the manager all of the information they should (they withheld the full audit findings).
  2. Not found which claims they thought were in breach of their policies and which they accepted as genuine.
  3. Not interviewed people involved when they were given the names as part of the manager’s explanations.
  4. Not given the manager an opportunity to comment before suspending him.
  5. Not put in place clear policies on expense claiming.
  6. Not advised the manager on what the policies were.
  7. Not raised any prior concerns as to his claiming practices.

The ERA held that his dismissal was unjustified and ordered that he be paid $17,000 lost wages and $10,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.

These awards were reduced by 30% due to the manager’s contributing conduct (his poor claiming practices and lack of reasonable excuses for over-claiming).

The bottom line…An employer that should have been able to get rid of a manager, who they felt was ripping them off, has failed to recover the money they thought was misappropriated, and ended up paying the person $12,000 because of their poor practices (lack of policies and lack of fairness in the disciplinary process).

It is important to get your policies and processes right so you can follow through with disciplinary action as appropriate.