A worker who had to pay $1000 from her own pay packet after money was found missing from the float for gaming machines has won a claim of personal grievance and unfair dismissal.

Julie Hills worked at Cafe de Paris, a Palmerston North hotel, until she was dismissed in August last year.

She took a claim to the Employment Relations Authority that she was unjustifiably dismissed from her position and alleged she had been underpaid and money had been deducted from her wages.

Hills told the ERA that during her employment the issue of deficiencies in gaming machines in the hotel were raised and staff were made aware that any "downfalls" would be deducted from staff's wages.


Hills had $44 deducted from her pay in November 2014 when during her shift there was a shortfall in the gaming machines.

In February 2015 she was called to a disciplinary meeting and told the gaming machines were down $1000.

Hills told the ERA she signed notes of the meeting, which included an agreement to pay back the $1000, under duress.

The $1000 would be paid back by cashing up seven days' outstanding leave and paying the balance from her wages, the meeting's notes said.

Member of the Authority Michael Loftus accepted Hills only agreed to the measure of deducting the money from her wages under duress, and found the deduction of pay was unauthorised.

Hills was dismissed during a time when the hotel had experienced a damaging fire and was closing.

There were concerns that her partner may have removed items from the hotel without authority to do so, as well as problems with the manager of the hotel trusting her.

Ultimately, Loftus found Hills had been unjustifiably dismissed.


"There are too many factors which influenced this decision which were either not put to Ms Hills or for which there is no evidence she was accountable," Loftus said.

Hills was awarded $3200 in lost wages and wages deducted for gaming machine shortfalls and $6000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.

Read the full decision here: