A married ASB manager who was unfairly dismissed after messaging "hey sxy" to a fellow staff member has settled his employment dispute with the bank.
Andre Nel had been working at ASB Bank for 18 years and was working as a senior commercial manager when he was dismissed in October 2015 for serious misconduct.
Nel took a claim of unjustified dismissal to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) saying ASB had breached its obligations towards him.
The ERA ruled ASB had not breached its duty of good faith to Nel, but said it had unjustifiably dismissed him.
The ERA said Nel had no previous disciplinary action at the bank and ASB believed the woman involved in the incident had accepted his apology and moved on.
The authority ordered the bank to pay lost wages of $95,455 and $15,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.
But despite awarding more than $110,000 to Nel, the ERA said it found his behaviour had contributed to the outcome and reduced the payment ruling by 90 per cent, ordering the bank to pay $11,000 to him.
Both sides appeal to the Employment Court and a hearing was due to take place earlier this month.
But the matter is not going to proceed to trial after Nel and ASB reached an out-of-court settlement.
Nel, via his lawyer, told the Herald.
"The dispute between myself and ASB has been resolved and I have not returned to ASB."
ASB said in a statement:
"The matter between the parties has been resolved. We would like to clarify that the applicant in this case, Andre Nel, should not be confused with a current ASB employee of the same name."
The woman who received the "hey sxy" message was only identified in the ERA's decision as Ms A.
Ms A began working directly for Nel in September 2015, at which time she said they had a good working relationship. Both parties were married at the time.
Ms A told the ERA Nel had often made personal comments to her including comments on her appearance and referring to her as "sweetheart"and saying she was "stunning".
Over the next few months this continued and on September 4, 2015, Nel messaged Ms A on Facebook telling her he loved her.
"Hey Sxy, just want to get the elephant out if the room ... I'm head over heels for you and have been since the first time I saw you. I'm an old fart who loves you and who just wants the best for you," he said.
Ms A responded by saying she saw him as a good friend and nothing more and hoped it would not affect their working relationship.
She also said she felt uncomfortable and did not want to speak about it again. Following this, Ms A said Nel continued to pursue her, at which time other members of staff were brought in to help deal with the situation.
Following an investigation and meeting process, the bank dismissed Nel.
The Andre Nel in this case should not be confused with a current ASB employee of the same name.