Carrie O'Brien. Photo Ican Models
A nanny fired by an international model from Wanaka whose
five children complained she swore at them and drove too fast
has been awarded almost $6000 for unfair dismissal.
Kate Fisher was sacked by text in June 2011 by Carrie
O'Brien, an American who has represented designers such as
Georgio Armani, Donna Karan and Chanel.
Ms Fisher took her case to the Employment Relations Authority
arguing that although she worked on a "when-required" basis,
it was an ongoing arrangement.
Authority member Michael Loftus agreed, concluding "the
decision to terminate was a dismissal" so Ms O'Brien was
required to justify her decision.
Ms Fisher worked three or four afternoons a week for Ms
O'Brien and later took up cleaning duties to earn more money.
According to the authority finding, problems began when the
children, now aged 5-13, started complaining "about the way
Ms Fisher drove and alleging she swore in their presence".
When questioned, Ms Fisher denied swearing, the finding said.
At a later family meeting Ms O'Brien, who is married to
Broken Shed vodka co-founder Mark O'Brien, told Ms Fisher it
was "scary to speed".
The final straw for Ms O'Brien occurred on June 22, 2011 when
Ms Fisher was caring for the five children and three others
while the O'Briens went to dinner with friends.
"There was some discord which led to both Ms Fisher and one
of the children telephoning Ms O'Brien during dinner
expressing their discontent," said the finding.
The next morning Ms O'Brien texted Ms Fisher saying the
employment arrangement could not continue because it was too
Mr Loftus found Ms Fisher was unfairly dismissed because her
employer didn't attempt to find out what happened or explain
the reasons for letting her go.
He ordered Ms O'Brien to pay Ms Fisher $4000 as compensation
for humiliation and hurt feelings and $1779 in lost wages.
Ms O'Brien, who is currently signed with the ICAN Model
Agency with branches in Queenstown and Dunedin, told APNZ she
would not hire another nanny without a written agreement and
Ms Fisher was "not qualified" to manage her children.
"It just wasn't working out ... nothing seemed to be going
well," she said.
Attempts to contact Ms Fisher through her lawyer yesterday
- Abby Gillies of APNZ