Worker in hours dispute awarded $10,000
A Temuka dog groomer has been awarded nearly $10,000 for being "constructively dismissed" from a Christchurch job after eight days.
The Employment Relations Authority's determination upheld Aroha Kerr's personal grievance as she was not given fulltime work.
On March 26, 2012 Ms Kerr saw an ad for a fulltime position at a dog grooming and day care business called Sharna in Hornby, Christchurch.
Ms Kerr had recently relocated to Temuka with her family following the Canterbury earthquakes.
She was interviewed by the owner, Keryn Ashworth, and said as she would be commuting from Temuka she would require the work to be fulltime.
Ms Ashworth disputes this and said she was to work from 1pm from Tuesday to Thursday, with full days on Monday and Friday.
Her first full day was Monday April, 2. She worked 11 hours without breaks and full days on Tuesday and Wednesday and was told to come in at noon on the Thursday.
In her evidence Ms Kerr said she "texted Keryn to ask if I could come in early to discuss this change in hours".
In their discussion, Ms Ashworth said the job was "on call as required" and it was never a "fulltime job".
Ms Kerr said she was shocked.
"That was not at all what we had discussed. I wouldn't have moved to Christchurch and split my family up for just casual work."
She also raised the lack of breaks and said she was told "if you don't get a break that's your problem".
She requested an employment contract.
Ms Ashworth said Ms Kerr became upset and said she would not be back if she did not have fulltime hours.
As it was Easter weekend she told her to take the break to think about whether she wanted to work at Sharna.
Ms Kerr texted her manager on Easter Sunday requesting she clarify her hours.
She also emailed her and said if the position was part-time she would have to resign.
She received no response and did not return to work at Sharna.
Instead she set up a dog grooming and daycare centre in Temuka two months later.
The authority found Ms Kerr had been offered fulltime work.
"The conclusion the original arrangement was fulltime means Ms Kerr was constructively dismissed.
"It is clear the hours Ms Ashworth intended Ms Kerr work were significantly less than fulltime which is, in this country, normally considered to be 40," the decision stated.
"The reduction, I conclude, constituted a breach of sufficient magnitude to nullify the original agreement and cause Ms Kerr to conclude it had been irreparably breached."
She was awarded $4480 for lost wages and $5000 as compensation.
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