An employer accused of firing a man who told him to stick his f***ing job during a row over a cup of tea has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Employment Relations Authority.

Leslie Dillon, a former employee of Star Trans Ltd, claimed he was unjustifiably dismissed by the company last July following an argument over the servicing of a truck.

Company general manager and majority shareholder David McLauchlan denied this happened, and said Mr Dillon had quit via text message after he left work.

An authority decision from member Rosemary Monaghan, released yesterday, found in Mr McLauchlan's favour.


According to Ms Monaghan's decision, problems between Mr Dillon and Star Trans arose after Mr Dillon failed to advise the company the truck he was driving was due for service.

An incident in the company's Gisborne smoko room led to a heated argument between the pair.

Mr McLauchlan told the authority Mr Dillon had tipped his cup of tea down the sink, kicking off an argument about the servicing of the truck.

Mr Dillon then told Mr McLauchlan he "quit" and left the premises.

Mr McLauchlan reported a different set of events regarding the altercation.

According to Mr McLauchlan, Mr Dillon became extremely angry, abusive and kicked a chair across the room when he was asked about the truck's service.

Mr McLauchlan also told the authority Mr Dillon had said to him that he could stick his f***ing job when he told him to go home.

Following the argument, Mr McLauchlan issued a letter to Mr Dillon asking whether he planned to return to work.

He also told the authority he received a text message from Mr Dillon saying he had quit and asking for his final pay.

No record of this message was able to be retrieved by the authority during its investigation.

Ms Monaghan stated in her decision there had been a misunderstanding about what Mr McLauchlan had meant when he told Mr Dillon to go home.

"Mr McLauchlan did not intend to dismiss Mr Dillon and I do not construe his words as words of dismissal,'' Ms Monaghan said.

Costs were reserved.