A recent ruling in the Employment Relations Authority highlights for the umpteenth time the costly consequences of an employer’s mistake in dismissing an employee without following the proper process and the significant cost of such a failure to follow process.
Hitting news headlines around the world recently, Josh from Auckland brought a clown with him as a support person to a meeting with his employer, instead of the usual family member, colleague, friend or lawyer representative. Josh was aware he was likely going to be told at the meeting he was to be made redundant due to job cuts after the loss of a large account at the advertising firm he worked for. During the meeting the clown blew up balloons and mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to Josh lightening the mood and no doubt taking the mickey out of his employer.
Employers keep getting trial periods wrong and it keeps costing them money. Biform Limited found this out recently when they were found to have unjustifiably dismissed W after he had worked two trial half-days. It cost them nearly $4000.00 (not including legal costs)
If you are an employment lawyer there are two times of the year where problems ‘peak’. The weeks leading up to Christmas where employers all want to fire people who have irritated them all year and the middle of winter.
Yes - conduct outside of the workplace can justify dismissal.
That includes posting comments and video footage on Facebook if it is found to be incompatible with the proper discharge of the employee’s duties and could undermine an employer’s trust and confidence in that employee.