A worker who was accused of inappropriate workplace behaviour has won a $1000 payout after a dispute with McDonalds.
Sahil Talwar, an Indian immigrant, worked for the fast food giant in Auckland from March 2012 until November 2018.
In May, 2018, a superior held a meeting with Talwar to discuss some allegations against him.
That included a complaint Talwar had made an inappropriate comment to a workmate when she was bending down to pick something up and that he had drawn inappropriate images viewed by other employees.
Talwar denied he made any comment to the woman and maintained his drawing, which depicted an alien face, was not inappropriate.
Several complaints had been made that the drawing was of a "superhero who could see through clothing".
"He maintained he put on the image that the image could see underneath weapons not clothing," the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision reads.
Accusations of refusing instructions and finishing work early was also discussed.
After the meeting Talwar was issued with a final written warning but he contested this and it was removed from his file after six weeks.
The ERA ruled this warning made his employment less secure during that period.
"Clearly the warning was unjustified due to the absence of any procedural fairness. That is not an action an employer acting fairly and reasonably in all the circumstances could take."
Talwar took a second leave of absence from September 16, 2018, which was approved to October 29.
He claimed he could not return by deadline due to personal reasons which included the high airfare and that his mother was not in good health.
McDonald's wrote to Talwar reminding him that he had already had six weeks to
deal with family commitments and had failed to make contact within the timeframe
specified when his leave was granted.
He was told his absence was "putting pressure on scheduling and other managers".
Unknown to McDonalds at the time Talwar was not in India looking after his sick mother but was living in Calgary attempting to secure residency in Canada.
Talwar did not attend work on October 29 and as a consequence his employment was terminated.
While the authority ruled Talwar had been justifiably dismissed, it found one or more conditions of his employment were affected to his disadvantage by unjustified actions and McDonald's was ordered to pay $1000.
His application for arrears of wages was declined.
Talwar no longer lives in New Zealand.