February 2018

The New Zealand Herald has just highlighted the importance for employers, even from small companies, to ensure procedural fairness when dismissing staff.

 

Cameron Hore and Hedley Ruffell had been playing cricket together for a few years before Ruffell offered Hore a job with his company ACL Construction as an apprentice builder, he started in February 2017. 

Hore claimed that Ruffell had frequently missed paying him full or parts of his wages.

The ERA states that on July 6, Ruffell handed Hore a letter dated June 19 terminating the employment, effective July 16. Hore handed the letter back the following day, noting the incorrect date and outlining wages owed. On July 11, Hore gave Ruffell a letter outlining his personal grievance claim over what he said was an unjustified dismissal. Ruffell responded by telling him to "f*** off" from the job, at which point Hore left.

The ERA found that Ruffell has unjustifiably dismissed Hore and awarded him to pay Hore $7317.20 in wage arrears, wages in lieu of notice and holiday pay as well as $1500 towards costs.

All employers have a duty to treat employees fairly, provide full access to information and the opportunity for employees to comment before a decision is made that might have a detrimental impact on their ongoing employment.