Posted on: Oct 22, 2015
The Employment Court gave some useful pointers on how it arrives at awards of compensation for hurt and humiliation in the context of a case of an employee whose short-lived employment of about three weeks ended with two days of “stressful and traumatic” circumstances.
On the first of these two days, he was dismissed after raising with his employer the fact that he hadn’t been paid. This dismissal was retracted the next day, but on the very same day the employee was dismissed for alleged theft with complete disregard of the employer’s good faith obligations. The employer unsuccessfully challenged the Authority’s award of $6,000 for hurt and humiliation.
The Court said:
- the Authority had not compensated the employee for his partner’s distress but had rather, as it was entitled to do, considered how the consequences on persons around the employee had contributed to his hurt and humiliation
- the Authority was entitled to take into account the cumulative effect of the distress leading up to the second dismissal, ie it was not limited to considering the distress caused by the dishonesty allegation
- the length of the employee’s service was not material, rather it was the way in which the employer’s unjustified dismissal affected him.
Mega Wreckers Ltd v Taafuli  NZEmpC 234
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