A Tauranga woman has been awarded $12,000 in compensation after being unjustifiably dismissed.
Carolyn Jones, who took her case to the Employment Relations Authority, claimed reimbursement of lost wages and compensation, after being dismissed from her job in early February 2012 after the business she worked for twice changed hands.
Ms Jones had worked for Greerton Produce and Florist since April 26, 2010, then the owners sold the store to Force 10, which took over July 17, 2011.
Force 10 then sold the business to BVS Fresh Produce, which began trading on or about February 1, 2012.
Ms Jones told the authority she had more than once been reassured by Force 10 owner Andrew Fitzsimmons that her job was secure.
Mr Fitzsimmons said he had done so after BVS owner Randojh Singh told him she would be re-employed.
Mr Singh's evidence was that he told Mr Fitzsimmons that Ms Jones was no longer required.
Ms Jones gave evidence that on or about January 27 last year, when Mr Singh visited the store prior to the ownership handover, he told her he would provide a new employment contract. On that basis, Ms Jones continued to work in the business after BVS took ownership on February 1, 2012.
The next day when she turned up to work, Ms Jones said she found two other staff members were effectively doing her job, and was told they were members of the new owner's family.
Ms Jones said she was further reassured by Mr Fitzsimmons, who was also working in the business, not to worry but later that same morning she was told by telephone she had been dismissed.
Mr Fitzsimmons arrived at her home a week later with three days' pay.
Auckland Employment Relations Authority member James Crichton found in favour of Ms Jones.
"Force 10 has committed an unjustified action in failing to properly notify Ms Jones of the results of the change of ownership, this causing Ms Jones apparent disadvantage.
"By contrast, BVS has unjustifiably dismissed Ms Jones by "sending her away ..."
The owners of Force 10 Limited and BVS Limited were each ordered to pay Ms Jones $3000 as a contribution towards her lost remuneration, and a further $3000 as compensation.
The awarding of costs has been reserved.
Ms Jones declined to comment because she was still seeking costs. The Bay of Plenty Times was unable to contact Mr Fitzsimmons or Mr Singh.
Both parties should talk to seek an agreement.
Visit your local Community Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Or call the ministry call centre on 0800 20 90 20.
Free mediation is also available to both parties by phoning 0800 20 90 20.
If that doesn't work, workers can take their case to the ERA.
For more information, call 09 970 1550 or visit www.era.govt.nz