A sacked stop-go worker who took his employer to court claiming he was unfairly dismissed has been ordered to pay $17,000 toward his former boss's legal fees.
Yoon Cheol Hong argued he had been unjustifiably dismissed by his employer Chevron Traffic Services Ltd and took the company to court in 2019.
At the hearing, it was found he had misdirected traffic and let cars through a busy intersection at the wrong time.
Hong had sought $80,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity, injury to feelings, and reimbursement for loss of earnings but the court found his dismissal was justified.
Chevron then sought $20,912.50 in legal costs.
In a ruling, this week Judge Perkins of the Employment Court ruled Hong should make a $17,000 contribution to Chevron's costs.
The case stemmed from an incident in September 2017 when Hong was working at one end of a three-way traffic control system at a t-intersection on Woodcocks Rd in Warkworth.
Three of Hong's fellow workers said he failed to communicate by the radio-telephone and allowed traffic to enter the restricted area on four occasions.
The traffic superintendent on-site also confirmed Hong had directed cars against the flow of the traffic at least three times.
The court heard Hong was "clearly not listening" to his radiophone and his conduct was "dangerous and inexplicable".
The superintendent told the court he had witnessed similar incidents involving Hong at Moirs Hill, also in Warkworth.
Hong was moved to another part of the site and similar incidents happened again.
Hong was informed he would not be allowed back on site.
A written complaint was sent to Chevron by the superintendent and the matter was investigated.
During multiple meetings, Hong completely denied the conduct and said there was a "conspiracy" between other staff to get rid of him.
He said it was: "frame-up."
Chevron's managing director Wayne Clarke said directing cars into the face of oncoming traffic had previously resulted in a death.
Hong's actions were regarded as very serious, he said.
When Hong was informed of his dismissal in June 2018, he immediately raised a personal grievance against Chevron.
In a letter to Hong, Clarke said serious misconduct had occurred and Hong had destroyed the trust and confidence Clarke had in him.
Clarke said Hong seriously jeopardised the safety of others on site and members of the public.
Judge Perkins dismissed all of Hong's claims, ruling his actions constituted serious misconduct and his immediate termination was warranted.
"I am not prepared to accept Mr Hong's assertions that the employer, in this case, acted in breach of good faith," the judge said.
"In fact, as I have held, quite the contrary is the case, and it is Mr Hong who breached such duties."