Air NZ loses garden-leave case
Air New Zealand has lost an attempt to have a former senior manager serve out a six-month non-competition clause in his employment contract which would prevent him taking up the reins at rival JetStar this month as planned.
Employment Court Judge Anthony Ford ruled that while Air New Zealand had a legitimate interest in protecting ''trade secrets'' Grant Kerr had access to, the six-month gardening leave he had already been forced to take was sufficient.
The judgment described the former general manager of Air New Zealand-owned Air Nelson as ''particularly impressive and honest'' and that it was obvious why Air New Zealand would want to retain his services.
It also said there had been lots of conflicting evidence given during the injunction hearing which stopped Kerr starting work when he had planned to in his new job, but the court preferred Kerr's version of events.
The hearing centred on Air New Zealand claims that Kerr possessed valuable confidential information that could be used to help Jetstar at the national carrier's expense.
But the judgment said the airline's executives had over-emphasised the need for protection of the confidential information, saying there was no proof provided that it would run into millions of dollars.
- © Fairfax NZ News