A Dunedin company has been ordered to pay almost $9000 to a
man it was found to have dismissed without justification.
At an Employment Relations Authority hearing earlier this
month, the authority heard that Dunedin company Loadwell
Trailers Ltd had dismissed Warren Murcott, of Dunedin, for
repeatedly failing to follow instructions, becoming ''angry
on occasions'' and for cutting plans for making a vehicle
chassis into triangles.
Authority member Helen Doyle said the dismissal was not what
a fair and reasonable employer would do and it was
''procedurally and substantively unjustified''.
Ms Doyle said the company had to pay Mr Murcott $6400 in
reimbursed wages and $2500 in compensation for humiliation.
Mr Murcott was employed by the company from February 5, 2013,
until he was given three days' notice on March 21, 2013.
He did not work out the notice period as it was ''too
uncomfortable'' and his last day was March 22, 2013.
Loadwell Trailers director Angela Ireland believed Mr Murcott
was working under an eight-week trial period, however, he was
not given a written employment agreement until March 18,
2013. That agreement included a probation period and a trial
period not exceeding 90 days.
The agreement was accompanied by a letter dated March 1,
2013, in which Mrs Ireland offered Mr Murcott the position
with the company for a trial period starting on February 5,
2013. Mr Murcott did not sign the agreement.
She found that although Mr Murcott had failed to follow
instructions during his work, she was ''not satisfied that it
was put to Mr Murcott in a clear way that if he disobeyed
another instruction and/or didn't improve his performance his
employment could end''.
He had not received any formal warnings from the company for
his performance or behaviour, Ms Doyle said.
In regards to Mr Murcott's anger, the authority heard that on
one occasion Mr Murcott had thrown his tools on the ground
after Mrs Ireland explained to him that he had used the wrong
brakes on a trailer.
While Mrs Ireland and operations manager Dennis Ireland
''clearly had concerns about Mr Murcott's angry outbursts and
attitude'', no follow-up action was taken after the incident
and Mr Murcott apologised, she said.
She found the chassis plans were cut up after his
''He was clearly upset by that,'' Ms Doyle said.
Cutting up the plans would result in justified dismissal and
Ms Doyle took the conduct into account when she awarded wage
reimbursement and compensation for humiliation.
Mr Murcott had sought 12 weeks' lost wages - totalling $9600
- and $5000 in compensation.