Former school worker free to pursue claim of $60,000 back pay

A school employee was forced to leave her job after shouting at pupils in the playground. Photo/iStock
A school employee was forced to leave her job after shouting at pupils in the playground. Photo/iStock

An exclusive Christchurch primary school employee who was forced to leave her job after shouting at pupils in a playground is allowed to pursue over $60,000 of back pay for sleepover shifts she worked.

Karen Cleverley was employed as a director of boarding from 2007 to 2011 at the prestigious Selwyn House primary school.

The Employment Relations Authority heard Ms Cleverley shouted at pupils in the playground which led to her forced resignation in 2011.

The Authority heard it was an "agreed exit" from both Ms Cleverley and the school and two days later a record of settlement was presented to her to confirm this.

The Authority heard Ms Cleverley read the agreement, however, she didn't speak to her lawyer about it and signed it.

In 2014, when Ms Cleverley was working as a Waitaki Girls' College, she found out about the possibility of getting a minimum wage claim from sleepover shifts she attended at her former workplace, which would amount to $60,487.02.

However, Selwyn House counsel Hamish Evans argued the record of settlement signed between the school and Ms Cleverley was a "complete bar to any claim", which meant it was final and binding and therefore she wasn't eligible for the back pay.

Ms Cleverley's counsel Simon Meikle acknowledged this, however argued it was only the terms stated in the record of settlement that was final and binding. Therefore the back pay Ms Cleverley was currently seeking wasn't covered by the initial settlement as she wasn't aware of this until 2014.

The Authority was "satisfied that the Record of Settlement cannot be interpreted to cover a valid settlement of a claim for wage arrears arising out of sleepover shifts".

It acknowledged the compensation provided to Ms Cleverley was "relatively modest and significantly lower" than the amount she now claimed for back pay.

The Authority then concluded the former Selwyn House employee didn't settle her back pay claim and she was allowed to pursue this before the Authority.

- NZ Herald

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