Worker awarded $9000 for unjustified dismissal

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 ''unjustified dismissal''.

''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.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Chisholm PlumbingDunedinPlumbers
Elim Christian CentreDunedinChurches
Heli Support New ZealandWanakaHelicopter & Aeroplane Flights
Momona GarageMosgielStorage