Payout for employee sacked by text

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A bakery worker who was sacked by text message has won back more than $7000 in compensation and lost wages from her employer.

Debbie Hinde worked on a regular part-time basis at Mr Bon Bakery and Espresso in Pukekohe between July 2010 and May 2011.

On May 19 last year Ms Hinde had an accident at home and injured her back and a medical certificate entitled her to remain away from work until June 17.

According to an Employment Relations Authority ruling released today, she texted bakery owner Bon Chien on the day her medical certificate ran out and said she could return the following Monday.

But Mr Chien replied and said she "was not to bother as he had sold the business".

Ms Hinde went to the Employment Relations Authority alleging she had been unjustifiably dismissed.

Mr Chien did not deny having told Ms Hinde she could not return to work, but explained he thought he had sold the business.

It appeared that sale later collapsed.

"Clearly, Mr Chien ought to have welcomed her back to the business once her accident leave had concluded and if, as he maintained then, the business was in the process of being sold, then he still had obligations to Ms Hinde during the period at least while he maintained charge of the business," ERA member James Crichton said.

Mr Crichton concluded Ms Hinde was unjustifiably dismissed from her job.

"She suffered a legitimate injury as a consequence of an accident and was placed off work by her general practitioner who supported that decision with the appropriate medical certificates provided to the employer."

The hurt, humiliation and injury to Ms Hinde's feelings were clear, he found.

Mr Crichton ordered Mr Chien to pay Ms Hinde $2250 in compensation, one week's wages in lieu of notice in the sum of $490, and $4500 in a contribution to lost wages.

- APNZ

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