A Northlander has failed in a bid to have her former employer— a government agency— taken to task over alleged breaches of an employment settlement agreement.
Veronica Byrne alleged the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) breached the agreement by making disparaging remarks about her and sought compliance orders and the imposition of a penalty.
She took NZTA to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) which dismissed her claims.
Byrne was employed by NZTA as a maintenance contract manager in Northland but relationship issues began to develop within a few months of her starting work in January 2015 between her and other staff members.
She alleged three colleagues behaved towards her in a bullying and threatening manner, and had undermined her work.
While an investigation was under way into those allegations, Byrne requested an exit package and her employment was terminated in September 2015 following confidential discussions between both parties.
They agreed they would not make disparaging remarks about each other to any third party.
NZTA contracted WSP Opus as quality assurance consultant on the Matakohe Bridges construction project around March 2016 and the latter hired Byrne later that year on a casual contract.
As part of the contract, NZTA could ask Opus to not have people the government agency decided for good reason were unsuitable to perform tasks and to have them replaced.
Byrne's role was to provide contract administration support to the engineer's representative or NZTA's key contact person at Opus on the project.
NZTA became aware of Byrne's employment with Opus and asked for her to be removed from the project without providing reasons for that request.
She was removed in March 2018 and remained a casual employee for Opus until August of that year.
Byrne submitted in the ERA the absence of explanation led Opus to speculate what she may have done to bring such a hostile response from NZTA.
But ERA member Jenni-Maree Trotman ruled that NZTA's request to have Byrne removed was so vague, there could have been any number of reasons behind it that did not necessarily reflect negatively on her or create an unfavourable or critical impression of her.
Byrne further alleged she was unsuccessful in securing employment due to disparaging remarks by NZTA but was unable to provide evidence to support her claim.