The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $16,800 after the unjustified dismissal of an employee. The employee raised the personal grievance claim after he was dismissed for not possessing a valid driver’s license.

After working for the employer for over a year, the employee lost his driver’s licence due to receiving too many demerit points from the police. The police came to the workplace, and served the employee with a notice that his driver’s license was to be suspended.

After the licence was suspended by the police, the employer decided to dismiss the employee, stating that he could not perform his role without a valid driver’s licence. He claimed to have issued the employee three separate letters. The first was said to be an invitation to an investigation meeting into the employees conduct, the second a preliminary decision to dismiss, and the third, a termination letter.

The employer claims to have given all three letters to the employee, but the employee denies seeing any of them until after he filed his personal grievance claim. The employee also denies ever attending an investigation meeting with the employer.

The Authority decided that it was more likely that the employee did not receive the letters, nor did he attend an investigation meeting, as the employer had no proof of delivery of any of the letters or any meeting taking place.

The employer also tried to claim that the employee behaved in a threatening manner towards him during an altercation prior to the dismissal. The employer had instructed the employee to put his phone away which led to an argument, after which the employee left the work site.

The Authority had to decide whether the employer had acted as a fair and reasonable employer would have in the circumstances. It was decided that the employer did not investigate the dismissal. The employer did not inform the employee of the reasons for his dismissal, nor was he given an opportunity to respond.

The Authority decided that these failures in process constituted unjustified dismissal.

The employer was ordered to pay $15,000 as compensation for hurt and humiliation, as well as $1,800 for lost wages.

If there is confusion around the correct dismissal process, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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