A former manager at The Cloud sacked for showing up drunk at the World Cup venue - but awarded costs for being unjustifiably dismissed - has been ordered to pay costs to her former employer.
Carla McKenzie was employed by Dawsons Catering for the length of the Rugby World Cup.
The employer claimed that on October 5 last year, three weeks before McKenzie's contract was due to finish, she went to The Cloud on her day off "in a state of intoxication and acting inappropriately".
A June Employment Relations Authority decision said McKenzie abused staff for not serving her and for denying her entry into a media only area.
Following that incident McKenzie was asked to leave and told to do her "socialising" away from the venue.
The day after the October incident Dawsons investigated the matter further and allegations were made against McKenzie, including that she had drunk on duty.
She was then suspended.
During a meeting on October 10, McKenzie denied she had abused staff but admitted she was drunk during the October visit, had used the staff radio inappropriately and had opened a bar account without authorisation.
The authority found that being drunk at The Cloud while off-duty was the only incident that constituted serious misconduct.
It found Dawsons had failed to provide McKenzie with information about the decision to suspend her, details of the allegations against her and the opportunity to comment on that information.
McKenzie was to be awarded $3000 for compensation, hurt and humiliation, but that was reduced by 90 per cent because her actions had contributed to her dismissal. Instead McKenzie was awarded $300.
Following that determination the authority reserved costs "in the hope" the parties could settle the matter between them, which they couldn't manage to do.
In an authority decision released last week, a lawyer for McKenzie submitted that despite the authority ruling in favour of his client she had been left with "considerable debt".
McKenzie had spent in excess of $7000 and sought $3600 towards her costs.
Her lawyer said the authority should consider McKenzie's lost earnings, "the further humiliation suffered as a result of media coverage" of her case and the fact her compensation had been "drastically" reduced.
The authority heard that Dawsons had made an offer to McKenzie that costs should "lie where they fall" before the authority made their initial determination and that her lawyer then made a counter-offer seeking $10,910.
Dawsons asked the authority to order McKenzie to make a $6790 contribution to their costs of $11,760.
The authority said it was not appropriate to "impose hardship upon an unsuccessful party" but ordered her to pay Dawsons $1000.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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