Luxury resort to pay former employee $45,000

The Kinloch Club opened last year.
The Kinloch Club.

The Kinloch Club opened last year.

Luxury resort company Kinloch Lodge has been ordered to pay a former manager more than $45,000 for unjustified dismissal.

Joanna Weir claimed before the Employment Relations Authority, that she was unjustifiably made redundant by Kinloch Lodge Holdings three months after creating her job.

Weir worked for two of Kinloch Lodge's luxury resorts; Treetops Lodge and Estates in Rotorua, and The Kinloch Club in Taupo.

Joanna Weir was marketing manger of Treetops Lodge and Estates in Rotorua.

Joanna Weir was marketing manger of Treetops Lodge and Estates in Rotorua.

She applied for the job of sales manager at both resorts, but started part-time work at Treetops Lodge in October 2015 while the The Kinloch Club was still under construction. 

A month after she started at Treetops Lodge Kinloch Holdings director, John Sax raised concerns about low booking rates.

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A room with a view at the Kinloch Club, Taupo.

A room with a view at the Kinloch Club, Taupo.

Weir's marketing suggestions to help drive positive guest feedback, were initially rejected by Sax, but he eventually agreed to them.

Sax also approved marketing work by an external contractor, without Weir's knowledge.

Weir said she understood sales decisions were her responsibility.

Three months after starting at Treetops Lodge and a month at the The Kinloch Club, Sax emailed Weir advising her that he had undertaken a "detailed review" of her role and had determined that due to a lack of forward bookings for both lodges, retaining her position was not economical.

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Weir's lawyer wrote to Sax asking for information about the restructuring process, but Sax did not respond.

Weir said in the short time she had worked for Treetops, she had increased occupancy rates by 60 per cent.

Given the Kinloch Club had been open only a month it was premature to consider disestablishing her role.

Sax told Weir that her sales ability were not being questioned and that keeping her on despite low forward bookings would not be economical.

The authority ruled that because Weir had asked about the restructure procedure at least twice and Sax did not respond or provide any financial information relating to the restructuring, Kinloch Lodge had breached the statutory obligations of good faith.

Authority representative Vicki Campbell said despite Weir increasing sales and marketing initiatives on previous year's for Treetops Lodge, Sax said the occupancy rates for Treetops was at their lowest.

Campbell said the authority received no evidence from Kinloch Holdings showing its financial position had deteriorated while Weir was employed.

Kinloch Holdings was ordered to pay Weir $25,691.66 in lost remuneration with interest of five per cent until paid in full and $20,000 for humiliation and distress caused to her by the dismissal.

Weir will also receive more than $1500 in travel, software and laptop repair expenses that Kinloch failed to reimburse during her employment.

 - Stuff

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