A shop worker who was fired and reported to police for taking home a magazine has been awarded more than $9000 in compensation.
Ericia Durning was employed as a part-time shop assistant by Evergreen Food Company in January 2014 by owners Paul and Li Liu.
Despite requesting one, she was not given an employment agreement.
A determination by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) said there was an understanding shop workers could take home unsold magazines where the covers had already been returned to the publisher for a refund.
In March, Ms Durning asked Mrs Liu if she could take home an unsold car magazine, but was refused.
The next day she took the magazine home with her at the end of the day along with several others.
She accepted she did not ask permission, but said she was not aware she had accidentally picked up the car magazine she had been specifically refused the previous day.
After seeing Ms Durning take the magazines on security footage, Mrs Liu gave her an employment agreement and asked her to sign it and backdate it to her start date.
She then confronted her about the magazine, and dismissed her for theft.
The incident was reported to police, who declined to lay charges after finding the magazine was worthless and couldn't be sold.
The ERA said it was "clearly an unjustified dismissal".
"The only thing that Ms Durning failed to do, which she freely accepted, was to ask for permission to take the magazines".
Ms Durning struggled to find work for nine months, and was under financial stress.
She asked for 12 weeks' wages and $2500 for hurt and humiliation, a claim the ERA said "could have been much higher".
Evergreen Food Company was ordered to pay $6720 in lost wages and $2500 in compensation.