The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $23,000 after their dismissal of an employee during a restructure was decided to be unjustified.

After notice of the restructure was given, the employee was initially offered a chance to give feedback in the week following the restructure decision. After this initial feedback period, the employer sent a follow up email with notice that the restructure would be going ahead if the employee had no additional feedback. The employer knew that the employee was on sick leave during this time, but still only offered two days in which the employee could offer this additional feedback.

The restructure went ahead and the employee was dismissed. The employee subsequently raised a personal grievance claim of unjustified dismissal.

The Authority decided that the employer had not followed the correct dismissal process. They had failed to adequately consult with the employee about her future employment status, had not provided enough time to receive feedback on the restructure from the employee, and had communicated with the employee in such a way that caused them to become distressed.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay $5,000 in unpaid wages and $18,000 for compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.

If there is confusion around the correct process for the dismissal of an employee, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.