Cafe to pay for not giving worker breaks

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A cafe worker has been awarded almost $12,000 after her boss docked her pay for breaks she never took.

Napier company HPG Private has been ordered to pay Natalie Cornelius for recompense in wages as a result of a constructive dismissal, payment for wages improperly deducted, compensation for humiliation, and contribution to her legal costs,

Ms Cornelius started working at the Napier cafe in October 2014 for Kamaljit Singh.

Almost a year later, she raised concerns in a letter to Mr Singh about the 30 minutes of wages she was deducted each day which she told the Employment Relations Authority she was never allowed to take.

She then tried to raise her concerns verbally when she did not get a response from Mr Singh.

Ms Cornelius told the Authority that Mr Singh reacted in a "rude and belligerent manner" and failed to address the issues.

She then told him she felt she had no choice but to resign, in which he responded: "You'll have to do what you have to do."

She later resigned. It took her 10 weeks to find another job.

Ms Cornelius told the Authority she was unjustifiably dismissed.

The Authority found that HPG never addressed her concerns and in absence of any response or defence found Ms Cornelius was constructively dismissed.

The Authority said HPG seemed to have gone out of their way to "stall and impede the process" by not appearing before the Authority and refusing to provide wage and time records.

Payment of almost $12,000 was ordered to be made to Ms Cornelius by June 16.

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