Rocket Lab has been ordered to pay almost $100,000 for unjustifiably dismissing an engineer.
Craig Owen joined the aerospace manufacturing company in early 2018 but his employment was terminated a year later over what the company says were performance issues, an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision said.
Alleged failures include negligent record keeping, non-compliance with proper engineering processes, and mass disregard towards Rocket Lab's policies.
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The ERA said it was a clear example of a company intentionally abusing its power to cause detriment to an employee.
Rocket Lab, known for launching numerous satellites in space for commercial and government small satellite providers, then offered to pay Owen $10,000 to settle any claims he had against the company.
Owen declined to sign the settlement agreement.
The authority said his dismissal was unjustified and there were serious breaches of good faith.
It has since ordered the company to pay Owen $65,000 in lost remuneration, $30,000 for distress and a penalty of $3000 dollars: a total of $98,000.
Rocket Lab submitted Owen should not be entitled to remediation.
It also submitted the proposed payout to be unfit as a long-term employment relationship was unlikely; there was no basis for imposition of penalty; and Owen's termination of employment was a "one off" and therefore unnecessary for the authority's recommendation to prevent similar employment predicaments in future.