Procedural Oversight Can Invalidate Dismissal
It is not difficult for employers to make procedural errors when taking disciplinary action against employees. It is a regular complaint, particularly from small employers, that the procedural requirements for even simple disciplinary matters are complex and technical. This can lead to findings of unjustified dismissal, not because an employee hasn’t committed serious misconduct, but because a full and fair procedure was not followed to reach that conclusion.
Phillips v Ports of Auckland Ltd
Mr Phillips was a stevedore at Ports of Auckland. In January 2014, Ports of Auckland introduced a written Drug and Alcohol Policy to cover the procedure for post-incident testing. It appears from the case that the Port did not provide training or education to Mr Phillips about the policy.
The Authority ordered that Mr Phillips be reinstated to his role and paid lost wages from the date of his dismissal. A small victory for the Port was that Mr Phillips was awarded no compensation for distress. This was because he contributed to the situation by leaving the site without raising the concerns about the application of the policy with the employer.
How We Can Help
Jackson Russell is experienced in dealing with all aspects of employment law. We regularly assist employers and employees through disciplinary processes. We also assist employers with drafting internal policies, and training and educating staff on how to implement them effectively.
The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.
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Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER
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