A female Bay of Plenty farm worker was told by her boss to take her apron and "bugger off" in a milking shed flare-up that ended with her sacking.

Kathryn Drawbridge was also called a "silly b****" by Whakatane farmer Greg Malcolm, whose company has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in compensation after the Employment Relations Authority ruled Ms Drawbridge was unjustifiably dismissed.

Ms Drawbridge's last day after more than four years as a milker at a Waimana Valley farm came on the morning of New Year's Eve last year, when Mr Malcolm unexpectedly arrived at the milking shed, she said.

She said Mr Malcolm yelled at the dog she had with her, causing it to run into the shed pit, before telling her "there's no dogs allowed in the pit" and pulling it out by its collar.


She then grabbed Mr Malcolm's hand and he let the dog go.

Mr Malcolm said he then told Ms Drawbridge to "bugger off" because he was annoyed she had her dog in the milking shed, that it was chasing cows and that she did not respond to repeated requests to remove it.

He claimed the catalyst for the blow-up was when she threw a piece of alkathene pipe at him after she heard him call her a "silly b****".

Mr Malcolm has denied telling others later in the day that he had sacked Ms Drawbridge and claimed she had misinterpreted what was said and did not respond when he made two phone calls and two visits to talk about what had happened.

However, authority member Robin Arthur found the way in which Ms Drawbridge was sent away was "not what a fair and reasonable employer would have done in all the circumstances at the time".

Mr Arthur acknowledged Mr Malcolm had later tried to meet Ms Drawbridge, but found it was to hand over final pay documents.

Ms Drawbridge told the Weekend Herald the blow-up left her "stuffed for quite a few months".

"I was having a very hard time sleeping, I'd just keep waking up, and with my stress I was finding it hard just to eat food."


She said she was satisfied with the decision for the company to pay her $6000 compensation and thousands more in lost wages and holiday pay.

Mr Malcolm said yesterday he believed it was virtually impossible for employers to fully comply with the law and he was disappointed but not surprised at the authority ruling.