A South Island man has been awarded more than $20,000 for being unfairly dismissed after a dispute with a fellow worker.
Brian Michael Ross was hired by Lazer Tech 2005 Ltd in April 2008 but was told in November that year not to come back to work by a former director of the company.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) this month ordered Lazer Tech to pay $18,275 in lost wages and $6000 compensation.
In November 2008, Ross was working at the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point near Bluff when he and Peter Johnston, a former part-owner of the company, had an "exchange".
Ross said that he heard Johnston talking about the argument on the phone to Lazer Tech manager Peter Booth.
When asked about the phone call, Johnston said Ross had "rubbed him up the wrong way", was "incompetent" and he was not sure whether he had a job for Ross any more, the ERA report said.
Ross continued to work at the smelter for two days and said Johnston was abusive during this time.
On the last day of the job he was told to "make sure you take all your gear and all your tools because you will not be coming back".
He turned up for work after the weekend, only to be told by Booth that there was no work for him.
ERA member Helen Doyle said Ross approached the company again a week later but was still not offered work.
Ross had been "hurt and humiliated" by the dismissal, she said.
"It is likely that the reason for dismissal was because Mr Johnston had complained about Mr Ross. Mr Ross was not given an opportunity to hear what the allegation was or respond properly to it," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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