$17,980 awarded for unfair dismissal

A North Otago dairy-farm worker will be compensated nearly $18,000 after he was unfairly dismissed.

The case of Jared Haydon-Gliddon came before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) last month regarding a fraught few days on the farm in October 2018.

The man, who was employed by sharemilkers Brendon and Shelley Gameson, was contracted until May 2019 to carry out milking and maintenance duties on the property.

But on October 6, 2018, Mr Haydon-Gliddon heard Mr Gameson had threatened to kill him.

He and his family cleared out of their provided accommodation and police arrested Mr Gameson.

He was later sentenced in the Oamaru District Court to six months' supervision.

A couple of days after the incident, while Mr Gameson was on bail, Mr Haydon-Gliddon sent him an expletive-laden message over social media app Snapchat.

"I'm going to get you," it ended.

The employee was almost immediately suspended by Mrs Gameson, who had taken over her husband's duties on the farm.

On October 15, Mr Haydon-Gliddon was given a letter informing him of his dismissal.

"Whilst suspension was substantively justified it was implemented in a procedurally unfair manner," ERA member Helen Doyle ruled.

"It would not have taken a significant amount of resource for the Partnership to have put the allegation to Mr Haydon-Gliddon and set up a meeting to hear his explanation, including any mitigating factors, of why he had sent [the Snapchat message]."

The ERA heard Mr Haydon-Gliddon and his family, which included young children, were rendered homeless after his sacking and ended up living in emergency accommodation.

Ms Doyle, taking into account the Gamesons' contract was terminated five weeks later, ruled he be paid eight weeks wages and more than $11,000 for the emotional suffering.

The total compensation came to $17,980.

Mr Haydon-Gliddon said it had been "a bit of a hard trip".


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