A Corrections officer in Northland dismissed for serious misconduct including allowing prisoners access to a restricted area has failed to win his job back.
Thomas Mokaraka was employed at the Northland Regional Corrections Facility at Ngawha for nine years until he was fired in November last year after complaints from his colleagues.
He challenged his dismissal to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) which ruled Corrections thoroughly investigated complaints against him and reached an outcome that was fair and reasonable.
He filed an appeal in the Employment Court this week and a hearing date is yet to be set.
Mokaraka claimed in the ERA he was unjustifiably dismissed and sought remedies and reinstatement but Corrections said that was neither practical nor reasonable.
A Corrections officer complained that Mokaraka gave her a dressing down in front of prisoners, told her not to think but to do as she was f**king told, and became angry with her when she queried a decision.
She further alleged Mokaraka locked her in an interview room alone with a prisoner and told her to f*** off in front of colleagues.
While an investigation was underway, a second complaint by another Corrections officer against him was received.
The complaint alleged Mokaraka entered a prisoner's cell and attempted to damage a TV cord with his keys and him removing a tamper sticker from a radio before he accused the prisoner of tampering with equipment in his cell.
Mokaraka denied the allegations in the second complaint.
He said Corrections did not adequately investigate the allegation, he did not have a real and timely opportunity to respond to his employer's concerns, his explanation was not genuinely considered, and there were not enough grounds to conclude he had committed
serious misconduct that warranted dismissal.
Security manager Scott Carr said Mokaraka's lack of integrity and understanding of the importance of safety and security was to such a degree he did not have trust and confidence in him to be a Corrections' officer.
Authority member Jenni-Maree Trotman agreed.
"The evidence Corrections had that Mr Mokaraka had engaged in serious misconduct was as convincing as the charge was grave," she said in her ruling.