An Auckland man who suffered a seizure three days into his new job has been awarded more than $14,000 after the company fired him for causing unforeseen stress.

Ashley Wakeham, who was hired as managing director by asbestos removal specialists Pacific Decontamination Service on June 5 last year, was found to have been unjustifiably dismissed by his employer.

According to ERA documents, Wakeham was hospitalised after suffering a seizure on June 7.

After returning to work on June 9, Wakeham's boss, company director Graeme Raymond, had organised a driver to drive him to and from work sites.


Wakeham, who was earning a salary of $100,000 per annum, told the authority when he received his first pay, it was less than the agreed upon amount. After questioning this with the accounts lady, Wakeham was told the difference would be paid in the next pay run.

But, on June 20, after receiving his second pay, the wage arrears had not been paid.

Wakeham alleges he phoned his boss for answers and was told the company was only prepared to pay him $40 per hour as it was going to be incurring a lot more cost having to arrange a driver to transport him to and from work sites and meetings.

Five days later (June 25) Raymond asked Wakeham to meet him at a coffee shop where he was told they couldn't continue their employment relationship, the authority heard.

Wakeham alleges Raymond told him his seizure had caused unforeseen stress and would cause additional expense for the company and he did not need him anymore.

Pacific Decontamination did not file a Statement in Reply with the authority.

In her determination, Jenni-Maree Trotman, a member of the authority, labelled Pacific Decontamination's process leading to Wakeham's dismissal defective.

Trotman said Wakeham's dismissal was immediate and abrupt, and he was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to respond to any concerns about his health, resulting in Wakeham being treated unfairly.


Wakeham was awarded $7,692 in lost wages, $2,333 in wage arrears and $4,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.