Liquidation stops payout for unfair sacking

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 17:02 28/05/2012
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BOSS FINED: Employment agreements must have a written provision regarding 90-day trial for them to stand up.

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A spray-tanner with links to Rod Petricevic who unjustifiably sacked her niece for getting pregnant will not pay a $25,000 Employment Relations Authority award because she has liquidated her company.

Janita Wright was the sole director and shareholder of Combined Tanning Supplies (CTS), and from October 2009 she employed Veronica Kloeten as a beauty specialist.

The ERA found Kloeten was unjustifiably dismissed in June 2011 after Wright was told of her niece's pregnancy and made an order of $24,798 in lost wages, maternity leave and costs.

But Kloeten will not be paid as CTS is now in liquidation with her claim classed as unsecured.

The ERA made its determination in January, and in April Wright appointed Gerry Rea Partners as liquidators to CTS.

Liquidator's reports said Wright claimed the business had ceased trading in July 2011, had been unprofitable for some time, and no assets for liquidators to realise.

Kloeten's husband Niko Kloeten, said the process - the sacking, the ERA hearing and now the prospect of being left with nothing - had been an ordeal. "Financially it's been tough, but the biggest stress has been the emotional one," he said.

Wright declined to talk to BusinessDay. "I don't talk to the media," she said before hanging up.

Wright is expected to be a key witness in in September when notorious Bridgecorp boss Petricevic faces charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office. Part of the case concerns over $1.2 million in payments by Bridgecorp to an entity controlled by the spray-tanner.

Wright sought name suppression from the ERA over her links with Petricevic, but this bid was declined.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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