A manufacturing company has been ordered to reinstate a man it sacked, who had worked for it for 29 years, and pay him more than $56,000 in lost wages and compensation.

Employment Relations Authority member Vicki Campbell said procedural breaches by Parker Hannifin (NZ) Ltd (PHL) were of sufficient seriousness as to make John Van der Griend's dismissal unjustified.

He was sacked on the orders of Australia-based manager John McGowan, who was in Australia at the time of the disciplinary hearing.

Mr Van der Griend had worked for PHL, which manufactures hydraulic hoses and fittings, as a setter/operator from February 1981 until his dismissal on October 8 last year, at which time he had been afternoon shift team leader since February 1996.

The incident that eventually led to his sacking started in September 11 last year when Mr Van der Griend was abused and sworn at when he asked a team member to turn off a machine.

The following Monday, September 14, Mr Van der Griend lodged a formal complaint with Joey Bianchina, the company's human resources specialist.

On September 29 he was called to a meeting where he was told a complaint had been made about him from the same employee he had complained about.

During the meeting there was some discussion about the use of safety glasses, in particular that managers were not wearing them as required.

The meeting ended amicably with agreement that Mr Van der Griend be provided with team leader training.

The following day Ms Bianchina arrived at the worksite to deliver payslips. She was wearing sunglasses, not the required safety glasses, and was also wearing open-toed shoes which were not permitted in the factory under any circumstances.

Mr Van der Griend commented on her eyewear or shoes, and they disagreed over whether she had to obey the rules.

The pair then had a discussion of various issues in his office.

Mr Van der Griend said that as Ms Bianchina went to leave the office she said she was not there to beat him up, at which time he raised his hands and told her "...ha, ha that's okay, I am bigger than you, I'll be okay".

She said that what he had done scared her. Mr Van der Griend said he felt embarrassed and surprised, but then Ms Bianchina began talking again in a normal way and left.

But Ms Bianchina complained that his behaviour was aggressive and he had "punched towards her face".

A meeting took place on October 6 at which Mr Van der Griend tabled a statement.

A second meeting was held on October 8 at which Mr Van der Griend wished to table another statement, but company official John Gray refused and said information from the previous meeting had been passed on to Mr McGowan and that his instruction was that Mr Van der Griend's employment was to be terminated immediately. He refused to enter into any discussion.

Later Mr Van der Griend was told factory manager Peter Hay had advised staff that he had been dismissed for physically harassing a female staff member.

Ms Campbell, in her determination, ordered the company to reinstate Mr Van der Griend to his former position, or to one no less advantageous,

It was told to pay him $49,170 in lost wages, plus $680 for a missed bonus payment, plus an amount equal to the bonus payment made to employees for the quarter ending January 2010.

To ease his sense of humiliation and hurt, the company must pay Mr Van der Griend $7000.