Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

'Nice person' awarded $36K over sacking

Photo / File
Photo / File

A plumbing supplier company which sacked its general manager because he did not fit in with the company, even though he was a "nice person", has had to pay the man more than $36,000.

Mark George complained to the Employment Relations Authority for unjustified dismissal after receiving an email from Auckland-based SPK Industries Ltd which fired him after just nine weeks in the role.

He was called to a meeting with the company's director Liangren Li last October and told he was unsuitable for the general manager position but would be given work as a contractor instead.

Mr Li followed this meeting with an email to Mr George which said: "Following our meeting this afternoon, I just put in writing for your record. From your last 9 weeks performance we feel you are a nice person to work with. But not suit SPK GM role. According contract signed, we would like to terminate the employment contract with 4 weeks notice (sic)."

Authority member Rachel Larmer said Mr George was never subject to a performance management or monitoring process.

"He had not received any warnings prior to his dismissal."

Mr Li did also not outline details on why he believed Mr George was not suitable for the role.

After Mr George was sacked, he had to move his family from Auckland to Invercargill for another job.

"His dismissal has had a severe impact on him. He fell into arrears with his mortgage and has had to have assistance from his family with that.

"He had to move his family to live for free with friends due to financial issues," Ms Larmer said.

She ordered the company pay Mr George $10,000 compensation, $26,250 in lost wages and $571 in costs.

Mr Li told APNZ he was considering appealing against the decision.

He said that before Mr George was hired they had discussed that if the appointment did not work out he would be dismissed.

"My mistake was not getting that in writing."

APNZ was not able to immediately contact Mr George.

- APNZ

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