'Brawling' panelbeater awarded costs
An untrained panelbeater who believed he would be employed as a trainee was unjustifiably dismissed after doing wheel spins in the office driveway and brawling with his employer in the street.
Richard Longstaff was employed at Pro Finish Panel and Paint, in Pakuranga, for nine days before he was dismissed without pay.
Employment Relations Authority member Rachel Larmer found Longstaff should have been paid $700 in unpaid wages but denied his requested distress compensation after it was found he "became unnecessarily and inappropriately confrontational and aggressive" towards company director Floued Mosa.
"He threatened Mr Mosa's family, abused him on a number of different occasions and even physically assaulted him," she said.
During his employment Longstaff sanded through part of the primer on a vehicle due to have its final coat of paint that day.
He was sent home by Mosa, but returned the following day to ask if he would still be paid.
Larmer found that, despite both parties claiming different stories, Longstaff returned the following day in an angry mood yelling and swearing.
Mosa claimed he told Longstaff "you have fired yourself" after Longstaff made threats against his family during this time.
Longstaff laid a complaint with police that Mosa tried to hit him with a belt sander.
Police records show Longstaff had done wheel spins up and down the driveway and nearly taken out a rubbish bin.
Larmer found there was an actual dismissal at the point when Mosa told Longstaff he had fired himself.
After regular employment ceased both parties were arrested for fighting in a public place on June 5. They both received police warnings. The ERA found that Longstaff had been driving near Profinish's driveway when he saw Mosa's van.
"He did the fingers and shouted and swore out the window at Mr Mosa then drove his car over to the opposite side of the road and reversed into Mr Mosa's van," she said.
"When Mr Mosa got out to look at the damage , Mr Longstaff got out of his car and kicked the van. When Mr Mosa went to stop him he pinned him to the ground and a physical struggle ensued."
Larmer ordered Profinish to pay Longstaff for nine days in unpaid wages totalling $700 and $56 holiday pay.
- © Fairfax NZ News