Payout for sacked WINZ worker

Last updated 10:15 07/06/2012

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A woman on a WINZ job placement has been awarded $7000 after being unjustifiably dismissed days after she was given leave to attend a job interview.

Amy Michele Hester Carter got a job at Doors 2U through Work and Income New Zealand's Jobs Ops programme as a personal assistant to the managing director, but spent a significant amount of time ordering parts for doors the business made, a recent Employment Relations Authority decisions reads.

Carter told the authority she was given little training and it notes the "expectations of her generally were unreasonable'' and "many mistakes'' were made.

A disciplinary meeting was held on August 30, 2010, to deal with Carter's performance and she told the authority the general manager tried to help her more.

Following that meeting WINZ asked Carter to be interviewed for another job and she had time off approved to do so. The authority said she told her employer if successful she would need to start immediately.

Carter's boss asked her to tell WINZ to readvertise her job and when she did so they asked her how sure she was of landing the new job. Carter wasn't sure, the authority decision reads. The next day Carter was interviewed for the position but was unsuccessful.

She returned to work and informed her boss of the outcome.

Later that afternoon there was another "altercation'' after Carter got another order wrong and she was told if she could not get things right she should not come in at all.

Later in a text exchange with her boss, Carter said she was "feeling bullied''.

On September 1, Carter asked for the next day off to care for a brother-in-law who had suffered an accident and it was approved.

Carter was told to text her employers that day to reaffirm she wanted to remain working there. Her boss replied that he had already replaced her and she was no longer required.

Carter raised a personal grievance with her boss on September 4.

Carter's boss denied receiving it. He also told the authority the matter had been resolved and a settlement paid to Carter but the authority said that didn't happen. He also said Carter resigned rather than being fired, her claim was lodged out of time, his company was in liquidation and that he could have dismissed Carter because she was on a probationary period. The authority dismissed all of those claims and said they were "puzzled'' by Carter's bosses' "contradictory'' responses.

The authority found Doors 2U had "failed absolutely to fulfil the obligations that a good and fair employer has''.

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Doors 2U was ordered to pay Carter $2000 compensation and $5000 in lost wages. Based on Carter's hourly rate of $12.75, she was paid out for almost ten weeks of lost wages.   

- Auckland Now

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