The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $34,750 after the unjustified dismissal of an employee. The employee brought the personal grievance claim to the Authority after being dismissed because of an argument she had with her employer.

The employee was in attendance at a meeting with her manager, when the pair got into an argument. The employee eventually left the meeting, claiming that the manager made her feel threatened and bullied.

After leaving the meeting, she sent an email to her colleagues apologising for her departure, stating that she was upset and needed to leave.

The employee was subsequently invited to a meeting by the manager and was encouraged to bring a support person. The employee requested more time to find a support person but was denied. She did not attend the meeting.

The employee emailed the manager after the scheduled meeting time asking what the meeting was about. The day after this email was sent, the employee was informed by email that she was being suspended. She was at work when she received the email and immediately left the premises.

A meeting was conducted soon after, where the manager and employee could not agree on each other’s version of events. The day after this meeting, the employee was formally dismissed on the basis that her actions amounted to serious misconduct.

The Authority decided that the dismissal was procedurally unfair. The employer was obligated to investigate further into the matter, as well as to present the evidence to the employee so that she could respond to it. There was also a failure to form a specific allegation of serious misconduct.

These failures led the Authority to decide that the dismissal was unjustified due to procedural unfairness in the dismissal process.

The employer was ordered to pay $16,000 in lost wages and holiday pay, as well as $18,750 as compensation for humiliation and injury to feelings and her claim of unjustified disadvantage.

If there is confusion around the required process for the dismissal of an employee, it is wise to seek advice from a professional in the area.


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