A Whakatāne retail sales assistant, who was sacked while on holiday overseas, has won her second bid to be paid $15,000 compensation after being unjustifiably dismissed.
Michelle Bradley had her case upheld with the Employment Relations Authority in November last year, and has since applied for a compliance order to have compensation paid by her former employer, which has also been upheld by the authority.
Bradley worked part-time at Hoof Camp Saddlery Limited and was sacked on August 1, 2019.
While she was sitting in Singapore airport on her way back home, she received an email from her boss Kathryn Cook telling her there were no more hours available.
In the email, Cook also said she had given her a verbal warning and claimed she had several complaints from customers.
However, Bradley took her grievance case to the Employment Relations Authority which ruled in her favour on November 13 last year.
Bradley told the authority she had no idea a meeting with her boss on April 1, 2019, to discuss changes at the store was a disciplinary meeting.
She said she was not warned her job was at risk before leaving on holiday.
In her November 13 ruling, authority member Anna Fitzgibbon said Cook should have informed Bradley that as a casual employee, there may or may not be work on her return.
Fitzgibbon said it was clear that Bradley was unjustifiably dismissed and awarded her $15,000 for hurt and humiliation.
On March 3 Michelle Bradley applied to the authority for a compliance order requiring Hoof Camp Saddlery Ltd to pay her the compensation she was owed.
Hoof Camp asserted that it was not in a financial position to do so and also Cook's health meant she was unable to work.
Cook confirmed she had sold some personal and second-hand products online, but stated the sales were not attributable to Hoof Camp Saddlery Ltd.
Stock she was forced to buy from Hoof Camp was "predominantly" out of style or date,
meaning it no longer held any value and trading it would derive minimal benefit.
Bradley submitted that Hoof Camp's financial position underwent a radical change and the balance sheet ending on March 31, 2021 showed a $35,921 net assets loss.
She also submitted that there may have been "tortuous misconduct" by Hoof Camp in regard to its financial management of the company to avoid its obligations to pay her.
Authority member Eleanor Robinson said there was no evidence to substantiate this claim.
"I am satisfied that this is a case in which payment to Ms Bradley should be made by instalments on the basis of the financial evidence submitted by the respondent."
Robinson also took into account medical evidence relating to Cook.
She noted that Hoof Camp was in the process of being removed from the Companies Office register, but that was halted so the ERA matter could be determined.
Hoof Camp was ordered to pay $3000 by June 8 and four more $3000 instalments on June 30, July 30, August 27 and September 30 to Bradley, along with a $71.56 filing fee.
Bradley was also awarded $750 in costs also to be paid by June 8.
Hoof Camp must also pay interest on outstanding amounts in accordance with the Ministry of Justice Civil Debt Interest Calculator, and a filing fee.