A man sexually harassed by his boss at a Wellington hostel has been awarded more than $35,000 after being sacked for complaining about the treatment.
Varinder Singh was fired from his job at Wellywood Backpackers after being sexually harassed by employer Ravichandiren NarayaNasamy on August 1, 2014.
Mr Singh took a claim of unjustified dismissal and disadvantage to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
Mr NarayaNasamy filed documents to the ERA, but did not attend the hearing or phone conference, saying he was too unwell to take part.
Mr Singh said Mr NarayaNasamy, also known as Robbie Nara, sexually harassed him by sending him explicit text messages, including one produced during the ERA hearing that said "I need to have sexs with u soon".
Mr NarayaNasamy said the message was sent to Mr Singh by mistake, and was intended for someone else.
But Mr Singh produced other text messages he said he was sent by Mr NarayaNasamy between April and July 2014 with many that were "personal, intrusive, and of a sexual nature".
ERA member Trish MacKinnon said she didn't believe Mr NarayaNasamy's defence that the text message was intended for someone else.
"I do not find that credible, given the content of texts he had sent to Mr Singh the previous day," she said.
In a document filed to the ERA Mr NarayaNasamy denied Mr Singh's claims. He claimed Mr Singh lost his employment due to laziness and was trying to blackmail him for money.
However, Ms MacKinnon said because Mr NarayaNasamy did not provide any sworn evidence and was not available for cross-examination she preferred the evidence of Mr Singh.
Mr Singh told the ERA that when he complained about Mr NarayaNasamy's sexual harassment on July 22, 2014 he was told he would be fired for complaining.
He was given two formal warning letters saying he had been rude to his manager and hadn't been providing written reports on his daily duties.
He received notice that he was being fired on August 1, 2014 and told the ERA Mr NarayaNasamy came to his room in the backpackers' hostel and started throwing out his belongings, then threw eggs all over them.
He said Mr NarayaNasamy was racially abusive to him when he protested, and physically abused him, causing him to flee the hostel.
The ERA found Mr Singh had money unlawfully deducted from his wages when a guest hadn't honoured their booking and when he obtained his driver's licence. Ms MacKinnon issued a $3000 penalty to his employer for imposing the unlawful "fines" deducted from Mr Singh's wages. Half of that will be paid to Mr Singh and half to the Crown.
Mr Singh was awarded $7500 compensation for his personal grievance, $10,948 in lost wages and $14,067 in wage arrears, holiday pay and public holidays worked.