A woman caught sleeping on the job was unjustifiably dismissed from her job at a Taranaki hotel.

Mereana Taylor worked at Devon Hotel in New Plymouth for eight years until she was dismissed for being caught asleep during her night porter shift.

Taylor had been suffering from back pain for about a week before she was spotted asleep on a couch by two staffers coming to work before 6am.

She was required to attend two meetings with her boss Peter Tennent and when her employer decided her falling asleep compromised security and safety she was dismissed.

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Taylor took a claim to the Employment Relations Authority saying her dismissal was unjustified.

Member of the Authority Trish MacKinnon said there wasn't an adequate investigation into whether Taylor's back pain or health complaints may have contributed to her falling asleep on the job.

"A fair and reasonable employer could be expected to have requested that Ms Taylor obtain
medical evidence, and to have considered that evidence, before deciding to dismiss her," MacKinnon said in her decision published this week.

MacKinnon awarded Taylor $5488.20 in lost wages and compensation, after taking into consideration the fact that Taylor acknowledged she did fall asleep on the job and it wasn't the first time.

Read the full decision here: