A former Air New Zealand flight attendant who was forced to
hand over her bank records and access to her Facebook page
for an employment investigation has won her case against the
Gina Trudy Kensington was dismissed from her job as a long
haul flight attendant when she defied her manager's
instructions and took domestic leave to care for her ill
sister earlier this year.
At the time, Ms Kensington's sister, Vania
Kensington-Morpeth, was caring for her newborn baby.
During a weekend in March, Ms Kensington, who was on leave
and at the beach for the day, received a text from her sister
asking if she could come over the next day as she was unwell.
Mrs Morpeth's husband, Andrew, would also be away at work.
Ms Kensington then proceeded to organise leave but after
contacting her manager was told she was ineligible for
She then contacted her union, the Flight Attendants and
Related Services Association, and was told they believed she
was "protected to take sick leave for the care of your
Ms Kensington informed her manager she would not be coming in
the following day, a Monday, and said they should contact her
union representative if there were any problems.
As a result of the incident, Air NZ held disciplinary
meetings with Ms Kensington and began an investigation into
The airline said they were concerned Ms Kensington "may have
falsely declared the need to look after your sister and used
this reason to secure further time off".
A decision to dismiss, issued on May 10, was appealed by Ms
Kensington and brought before the Employment Relations
Ms Kensington argued she was unjustifiably dismissed as her
actions had not amounted to a misuse of sick leave and the
disciplinary process followed by Air NZ was unfair.
Air NZ successfully applied to the authority to access Ms
Kensington's bank records and Facebook page for the relevant
Concerns were raised after photos of Ms Kensington at
Auckland's Takapuna beach appeared online at the time she was
trying to organise leave to care for her sister.
Despite this, Ms Kensington's efforts against the airline
were today rewarded when the authority issued a determination
in her favour.
Authority member Tania Tetitaha stated in the determination
the dismissal was "not what a fair and reasonable employer
could have done in all the circumstances at the time it
However, the investigation by Air NZ into the incident was
"full and fair".
Further discussions between Air NZ and Ms Kensington are due
to take place this month regarding costs in the case and
possible reinstatement of her employment.
- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ