John Weekes

John Weekes is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Rock star has to pay $72k to trio he abused, sacked

Phil Rudd did not dispute the version of events heard by the ERA. Photo / Getty Images
Phil Rudd did not dispute the version of events heard by the ERA. Photo / Getty Images

AC/DC rock star Phil Rudd has been ordered to pay more than $72,000 after kicking a door in and sacking thunderstruck workers during a tantrum at his restaurant.

After a long battle, the Employment Relations Authority has found in favour of Hayden Clark, Janelle Kiwa, and Alice Kiwa, who were unjustifiably sacked from Rudd's Tauranga restaurant, Phil's Place.

On July 18, 2012, Rudd went to the restaurant and asked chef Clark for an antipasto platter to be delivered to his boat, moored nearby. But Rudd's security guard told a restaurant staffer the meal should go to Rudd's aircraft hangar.

High voltage Rudd returned to the restaurant, kicked the back door in, and said: "Where is my f****** meal?" He then yelled at staff, saying: "You are all f****** useless" and "you're all f****** fired."

He added, "drop what you are doing" and "I'll get the cleaners in tomorrow and a whole new team".

The authority heard Rudd then kicked a rubbish tin and left the restaurant, slamming the door. Rudd did not dispute this version of events.

"Mr Rudd's behaviour on July 18 was scary and intimidating," authority member Tania Tetitaha said. "It directly affected these applicants' physical and mental health, well-being and mana within their community."

Two days later, Rudd's accountant, Andrew Walton, apologised on behalf of the musician.

At a later meeting, described as tense, the workers were told Rudd wanted the restaurant closed over winter. Soon after, the Kiwas and Clark were told their jobs were terminated. The trio were warned any breach of "confidentiality provisions" would be treated seriously.

Tetitaha said Clark and Alice Kiwa were out of work for at least three months. Janelle Kiwa lost six weeks' wages and was effectively homeless. The authority said she and Clark were also victims of false accusations about thefts from Phil's Place. Clark had to leave town to get a job.

Rudd apologised personally at the hearing on February 25.

For loss of income, Phil's Place must pay Alice Kiwa $4,872, Janelle Kiwa $4,536 and Clark $9,692. It must also pay the three applicants $15,000 each for distress and $8,500 in costs.

Phil's Place has 28 days to appeal against the decision.

- Herald on Sunday

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