An Auckland bartender has been awarded around $13,000 in compensation and unpaid wages because her employer yelled at her and wrongly dismissed her after just nine days employment.

Student Anne Faulls was employed as a bartender at Italia Square, Parnell on December 1. She agreed with her boss Sean Aram that she would work fulltime until university re-started.

Three days later she received a contract that said she was a casual employee.

When she approached Mr Aram, he said it was a temporary measure "until the business had settled down" and he was preparing full-time contracts. She reluctantly signed the agreement.


An Employment Relations Authority judgment says that on the restaurant's opening night on December 9, Ms Faulls was approached by the head tradesman who was concerned about the legality of the operation.

According to the tradesman, the premises did not receive a fire permit or a liquor licence and the construction was also incomplete.

Ms Faulls said she attempted to contact and discuss this with Mr Aram.

However, he couldn't be contacted and she spoke to his wife, co-owner Izumi Aram.

According to authority, Ms Aram was concerned about keeping staff costs down and told Ms Faulls to send staff home "on the basis that if the restaurant/bar was to open they would need to be available to return at a moment's notice".

When Mr Aram arrived at the restaurant, he yelled at Ms Faulls about sending staff home and "would not allow her to explain why she had sent the staff home".

After unsuccessful attempts to have her say, Mr Aram subsequently told Ms Faulls he "did not need her any longer".

She took that as a dismissal and was "in tears and very upset" and later emailed her boss for some clarification.


In an email exchange with Mr Aram, she explained that she sent staff home because Ms Aram told her to.

She did not get a response.

At the authority hearing, Mr Aram admitted dismissing her, but later denied he had and said Ms Faulls could return to work.

The authority found Mr Aram's evidence "inconsistent" and rules Ms Faulls was unjustifiably dismissed.

She was awarded $6342.50 in lost wages, $592.80 in holiday pay and $6000 compensation for "humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to her feelings".