A South Auckland youth worker sacked for punching and stomping on a young offender must be reinstated, despite his employer having lost confidence and trust in him.

The reinstatement is subject to further legal wrangling.

Ma'auga Tuilaepa was fired from his job as a residential social worker at the Child, Youth and Family-run Korowai Manaaki youth justice centre. An internal investigation found he'd breached the "zero tolerance" policy for violence and went too far in restraining a youth.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled his dismissal was unjustified and that Mr Tuilaepa must be reinstated, saying the internal probe wasn't up to scratch.


The authority also ruled an award of $5000 lost wages and $6000 distress compensation would be scrapped because of the part Mr Tuilaepa played in his own plight.

CYF said yesterday it would appeal to the Employment Court.

After a police investigation, Mr Tuilaepa was also charged with common assault. He is to appear in the Manukau District Court next month and, if convicted, could be the subject of more employment action.

The situation flared in September last year when Mr Tuilaepa punched and stood on a 15-year-old's hand, saying he did so in self-defence.