Worker sacked because he could not work Saturdays awarded $9500

Matthew Boyce wanted a temporary job before he went to university, but was "unjustifiably dismissed" after he could not ...

Matthew Boyce wanted a temporary job before he went to university, but was "unjustifiably dismissed" after he could not work Saturdays. (File photo)

A school leaver who lost his temporary job because he could not work Saturdays due to sporting commitments has been awarded just over $9500.  

An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision released publicly this week said Matthew Boyce answered a job advertisement on Seek that sought applications for pick packers with the hope he could get a temporary job for several months before attending a US university in August 2015.

The manager of recruitment agency Kelly Services Limited, Paul Watson, told Boyce he would be working for Coca Cola Amatil (NZ) five days a week from Monday to Friday, 12 hours a day and the assignment would last for a minimum of three to four months.

Although Boyce was working for Coca Cola under assignment, he was told by a Kelly Services Limited representative he would be employed by them under its terms and conditions of employment.   

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Early in March, Boyce met with the manager of Coca Cola and was asked to work Saturdays. He told the manager he could not as he played baseball on Saturdays in Auckland.

Coca Cola contacted Kelly Services Limited informing to say it no longer wanted Boyce to work there. At 7.30am the following day, while still working, Boyce was told his employment was being terminated immediately because he was not available to work on Saturdays. He was allowed to carry on working until 9am, then had to leave the premises.

Watson later rang Boyce apologising for terminating his employment and requested he return his employment agreement.

The ERA noted Boyce was very upset about being dismissed and tried to find other jobs, but could not due to his lack of experience. The situation left him very disheartened.

Boyce said he was teased by his friends for losing the assignment and it hurt his confidence.

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The ERA said once Watson had been notified Coca Cola no longer wanted Boyce to work for them he should have found out why and tried to explore other options to retain the assignment.

The ERA said it accepted Boyce suffered some injury to his feelings; the ending of the assignment was not inherently shameful, but was annoying and resulted in an unjustified dismissal.

Boyce was awarded $6023.88 in lost wages, $481.91 for holiday pay on lost wages, and $3000 compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to his feelings.  

 - Stuff

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