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Hilsley Short was unjustifiably dismissed from Clanrye Holdings Limited last March, the Employment Relations Authority has ruled. He had been working for the Ashburton-based company since July 2019.
Short became sick and was stressed being without work, the report said. He had anxiety about not being able to support his children as a result of losing income and had trouble eating and sleeping. He was prescribed sleep medication, it said.
Short received a letter that outlined concerns about his work performance and invited him to attend a disciplinary meeting on March 18, 2020.
But two days later he was served a trespass notice which prevented him from entering the farm he was employed to work on - and so he could not attend the meeting.
Two days after the scheduled meeting Short was dismissed.
"The trespass notice was, in the circumstances, a sending away amounting to a dismissal", Peter van Keulen said in the decision.
But the usual disciplinary process was cut short when Clanrye Holdings dismissed him two days later, van Keulen found.
"Clanrye Holdings did not meet any of the procedural requirements or expectations for a disciplinary process ... as a result Clanrye Holdings' dismissal of Short was unjustified," the Authority said.
Short has been awarded $14,000 in compensation for "humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings" he suffered because of the dismissal.
He has also won reimbursement for the earnings he lost as a result of the unjustified dismissal, at a total of $7,955.56.
Clanrye Holdings failed to provide records of Short's hours worked and payments. A penalty of $1500 was imposed on the milk production company because of this, with $1000 going straight to Short.
Short has been awarded a total of $22, 955.56.