An Auckland freight logistics business will have to pay more than $30,000 for the unfair dismissal of one of its staff.
C H Robinson Worldwide (NZ) were ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay Aarti Prasad more than $20,000 in lost ordinary time remuneration and holiday pay, and $10,000 in compensation.
Prasad, who worked in export operations, was dismissed on November 28, 2017, after CHR export manager James Hokke got a detailed email from a representative of a client complaining about errors in her work.
Prasad was offered another role doing import work for other clients and told if she did not want to be redeployed then her employment would be terminated. She declined.
Prasad raised the personal grievance for unjustified dismissal because of the failure of her company to provide her information about the complaint, and the failure of her managers to investigate it and give her an adequate opportunity to explain concerns about her work, and the ultimatum given to her to accept an alternative role or be dismissed.
CHR denied it had acted unfairly in its treatment and dismissal of Prasad.
In its determination, the authority said that the defect in CHR's procedure of dismissing Prasad was unfair.
"While CHR could take prompt, prudent action to address a major customer's concerns, it could not have done so without observing the obligations of a fair and reasonable employer in dealing with Prasad," the authority stated.
The authority further observed that there was a disadvantage to Prasad in the alternative role she was offered as it was more complex than the one she previously held at the company.
As a result of the unfair dismissal, Prasad was awarded $18,750 of lost ordinary time remuneration; $1,131 compensation for lost benefits; $1,590 holiday pay due on the amounts awarded and $10,000 compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.
In her claim for compensation, Prasad said she was "so embarrassed and ashamed that I got fired".
Prasad said she was frequently sleepless and tearful as she thought over the events, and had been prescribed medication to assist with anxiety resulting from the situation.
CHR was also ordered to pay $2000 to the authority as a penalty for the breach of good faith.
CHR declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.