A woman truck driver who was forced to resign her job with a haulage company after being bullied and sexually harassed has been awarded more than $40,000 damages.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) found Kelly Tanner suffered psychological damage as a result of the way she was treated and was constructively dismissed.

It ordered her employer, Todd and Pollack Haulage, to pay her $16,320 in lost wages and $25,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.

It said that Ms Tanner began working for the company in September 2007.

She initially had a good relationship with her manager, Cyril Friend, but this deteriorated after her then partner left the company.

Mr Friend avoided her, reduced her work hours to less than full-time, gave her the worst loads to deliver and abused and humiliated her.

Another workmate verbally sexually harassed her, which increased her stress levels, although this was dealt with by management and ceased.

She claimed the company breached its duties to keep her safe at work by failing to deal with workplace bullying, which left her unfit to work.

After efforts to sort out the situation through human resources manager Kevin Hampton, as well as through mediation, Ms Tanner resigned in November 2010.

From evidence given by witnesses, Mr Friend was described as a difficult personality, a racist and being deficient in people skills, ERA member Eleanor Robinson said in her decision.

"I find that a policy of deliberate avoidance by a direct manager could constitute workplace bullying, being behaviour which was inappropriate and detrimental to Ms Tanner's health and well-being and that in this case it did contribute to Ms Tanner's stress level and mental health."

Ms Robinson acknowledged that the company commenced an investigation into the bullying but by that time Ms Tanner had already suffered psychological damage and it was too late.

This was a case of constructive dismissal, where Ms Tanner was forced to resign, Ms Robinson said.

- NZPA