Edwards wins backpay

2degrees co-founder Tex Edwards will receive up to $1 million after the Employment Relations Authority ruled the company wrongly reduced his salary from $350,000 to $200,000 in 2008.

The authority ordered 2degrees to make up the salary, plus interest, and pay Edwards compensation for backtracking on an agreement to offer him share options, as well as a $4000 penalty.

However, in a minor win for 2degrees, the authority said Edwards was entitled to only two months' notice, rather than the three-year period he claimed.

The Employment Court has yet to hold a hearing into the separate matter of whether Edwards was also unfairly restructured out of his job as "company strategist" earlier this year.

Edwards is on "gardening leave" ahead of the October 29 hearing, which could set a precedent as to whether employers have the right to restructure their businesses as they see fit.

2degrees had claimed Edwards "acquiesced" to the 2008 salary cut but that was denied by Edwards, who says he repeatedly refused to sign off on it. The authority said only one of several documents relating to Edwards' terms and conditions was in fact signed.

2degrees spokesman Mat Bolland said the company would not make any comment. Fairfax NZ

Taranaki Daily News