Business to pay $30k to ex-worker
A Christchurch business owner has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 for the wrongful dismissal of a man he says he never fired.
In a decision released this week, the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ruled that Mark Grocott unjustifiably dismissed Millin Parratt from his role at Fluffy's Roof Coatings.
Giving evidence at the proceedings, Grocott said never dismissed Parratt and that he could still be employed if he so chose.
Parratt began working for Grocott at his roof coating business in 2006 and, although there was no written employment agreement, both agreed the arrangement was for permanent employment.
In 2010, Parratt went to Grocott's house to collect pay documents and raise his concerns over deficient pay. Parratt claimed his payments were often short, drip fed and alternated between cash - sometimes under the table - and bank deposits.
''I believe I had worked a lot more hours than were recorded and was owed more than I was paid,'' Parratt said.
Grocott was annoyed with Parratt when he arrived and, after a short discussion between the pair, Parratt said his boss told him: ''I've terminated your employment''.
Parratt stormed out and, thinking he had been fired, never returned to work. The financial strain placed on him as a result of the job loss was ''stressful and embarrassing'' and he was forced to move in with his mother-in-law while he sorted his finances.
Grocott disputed the exact wording of what he told Parratt and said he did not fire him and that he had been welcome to return to work. However, Grocott never contacted his employee to clarify the situation.
ERA member Mike Loftus ruled that Grocott had dismissed Parratt and that there was no justifiable reason for doing so.
''Given Mr Grocott's position that Mr Parratt would still be employed if he so chose ... there was not, according to Mr Grocott's evidence, an event capable of justifying a dismissal,'' Loftus said in his decision.
He also ruled that Grocott did not use proper procedure when firing Parratt.
Grocott was ordered to pay Parratt $22,921 in monies owed, $1488 for lost wages, $6000 in compensation for the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings as a result of the dismissal and $1750 as a contribution towards the cost of proceedings.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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