Salesman fired after quake gets $10k
A Christchurch motorbike salesman has received $10,000 in compensation after being unjustifiably dismissed because of a ''flawed consultation process''.
An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision released this week ruled that Superior Motorcycles Christchurch did not consult with Robert Patterson properly before dismissing him in 2011.
Patterson had worked for the company for over three years as a salesman.
After the February 22, 2011 earthquake, the Cashel St store was forced to close for a month. In March, Patterson was told his job may be ''surplus to requirements'' because of an anticipated downturn in business as a result of the quake.
Patterson went to a meeting with his bosses on March 23 where he was told he had been made redundant.
His boss, Chris Bellamy, said he offered Patterson an alternative job in the parts and accessories department at the meeting, but he had turned it down.
Patterson said he was never offered the job and ''would have taken anything on offer'' to avoid being dismissed.
The next day, March 24, a contract was signed by a different man, Grant Beatty, for the accessories role.
Patterson told the ERA he believed his boss had ''always intended to employ Mr Beatty prior to the meeting''. He said the consultation was a ''sham'' and the outcome had been pre-determined.
Bellamy said the decision to offer Beatty the role was not made until Patterson had already turned it down.
In his judgement, ERA member David Appleton said he believed Patterson had been offered the role during his meeting, but that he had not understood fully what it meant as he was ''confused and stressed''.
''I do not believe that sufficient information was given to him to have understood it properly and therefore to have enabled him to consider it properly,'' he said.
''It may be that Mr Bellamy did consider Mr Patterson for the accessories role and decided that he was not able to bring sufficient expertise to fulfil the needs of the business, but Mr Bellamy should have given Mr Patterson a full opportunity to have made representations about the role.''
Appleton said he believed Patterson would have accepted the full time accessories role if sufficient information had been given.
Patterson was awarded $10,000 in compensation and $8750 in lost wages.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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