Kebab business ordered to pay $60k to woman it fired for wanting another child

Upper Hutt kebab store owners must pay a Turkish couple more than $80,000 following the Employment Relations Authority's ...

Upper Hutt kebab store owners must pay a Turkish couple more than $80,000 following the Employment Relations Authority's recent determination.

A kebab shop that fired a woman because she wanted another child has been ordered to pay her a total of more than $60,000.

Zara's Turkish Ltd, in Upper Hutt, fired Guler Kocaturk​  after one of the business' directors learned she wanted to try for another child.

When Kocaturk and husband Ibrahim returned to New Zealand from a two-month holiday to Turkey in August 2014, they were told there was no more work for either of them at the kebab shop.

But according to the one of the company's directors, Hanife Kokcu​, it was the Kocaturks who decided to quit in November 2014.

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The Employment Relations Authority rejected the director's evidence as it would not have made sense for Guler Kocaturk to have voluntarily stopped working. 

It found "the dismissal is procedurally unjustified", and ordered that Kocaturk be paid $13,338 in lost wages from her dismissal, along with $7000 compensation.

She was also awarded more than $40,000 for unpaid wages and holiday pay entitlements.

She became pregnant around the end of October, after she had been dismissed, but could have continued working for at least another three months, the ERA determined.

It ordered Zara's to reimburse her more than three months' ordinary remuneration, and also ruled she was working 72 hours a week between May 2013 and September 2014, while being paid only for 40 hours.

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Ibrahim Kocaturk was also considered to have been working 72-hour weeks since at least July 2010, while being paid for 40 hours.

It ordered Zara's to pay him $16,194.36 in respect of pay arrears, and $4766.76 in respect of holiday pay and statutory holiday pay.

He claimed the underpayments went back to when he began as a chef in a Nelson store with Hanife Kokcu and husband Ugur in October or November 2009. However, the ERA said it could not consider claims that far back, and would assess them only from July 2010.

It determined that Ibrahim Kocaturk handed in his resignation after learning his wife's contract had been terminated.

He was offered his job back but declined, and said it would not be "logical" to work there without his wife.

 - Stuff

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