A security services firm made unlawful deductions from a workers' pay after he allegedly pranged a company vehicle twice.
The Employment Relations Authority, which made that finding, ordered the company to pay him $1845.23.
Satish Kalera was employed by Simply Security on February 28 last year and worked there until May 21.
Kalera was allegedly involved in two accidents on March 13 and 23, while driving the company's vehicles.
Simply Security determined that Kalera was responsible for the accidents and, following notification to him, made deductions from his wages for the cost of the repairs. Kalera said the deductions were unreasonable and made without his consent.
Simply Security denied the deductions were unreasonable or made without Kalera's consent. The company further claimed that Kalera had breached the individual employment agreement by failing to comply with its vehicle policy and to make payment for outstanding vehicle repairs.
On March 13 Kalera damaged a company vehicle when he scraped the side of it against a low pillar whilst reversing.
Simply Security said Kalera was involved in another accident on March 23. It was alleged that he reversed a company vehicle into and caused damage to a stationary vehicle. Kalera disputed responsibility for this accident.
At a meeting with Simply Security on April 6 Kalera accepted he had caused damage to the company vehicle on March 13. However, he disputed liability on the grounds that he was not careless as the pillar was not visible.
Kalera denied being involved in an accident on March 23.
Between April 12 and May 24 Simply Security made deductions from Kalera's wages totalling $1,773.67.
In the determination ERA member Jenni Trotman said there was no dispute that Kalera had initially provided his consent to deductions being made from his wages.
Consent was provided in both Kalera's individual employment agreement and the company vehicle policy.
"However, a worker may vary or withdraw a consent given for the making of deductions from that worker's wages by giving the employer written notice to that effect," the determination said.
The deductions made by Simply Security from Kalera's wages were found to be unlawful and breached the Wages Protection Act.
"Mr Kalera clearly and unequivocally withdrew his consent to deductions being made from his salary prior to the deductions commencing," the determination said. "In addition, the deductions which were made from Mr Kalera's salary were unreasonable."
Simply Security submitted that Kalera had breached the terms of his employment by failing to comply with the terms set out in its company vehicle policy.
The company said he did this by failing to pay the sum of $307.83 for outstanding vehicle repairs. This sum represented the difference between the amount Simply Security deducted from Kalera's wages and the alleged cost of repairing the damage caused in the two accidents.
"Alternatively, if the Authority were to find the deductions it made to his salary were unlawful, Simply Security submits he breached the terms of his employment by failing to pay the sum of $2,081.50, being the cost of the repairs," the determination said.
There was currently insufficient evidence to establish that Simply Security had incurred any costs in relation to the first accident, the determination said.
"In the absence of evidence that Simply Security has incurred costs of repair equating to more than $1,391.50, and taking into account that Simply Security currently holds more than this sum on account of Mr Kalera for the unlawful deductions made from his wages, I find there has presently been no breach of Mr Kalera's terms of employment."
Simply Security was ordered to pay Kalera $1,773.67 for the unlawful deductions and $71.56 for costs.
A representative for Simply Security said the company was considering the decision, an appeal and possible avenues to recover debt.