Lower Hutt: Hairdresser wins employment payout
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has awarded $17,600 to a hair stylist who was sacked after arguably turning up to work five minutes late – and slated her boss for not showing up at personal grievance hearings.
There was no written employment agreement, but it was agreed verbally with the firm director Bianca Blake that she would work on the days the salon was open, from Tuesday to Saturday each week.
Ms Clarke told the ERA it was arranged that she could turn up before her first client arrived, but she said she turned up early anyway.
She took three days off from August 21 for a family bereavement.
She was not paid her wages for the previous week when they fell due on August 20, but when she rang the firm, she was told they had been paid. Her bank confirmed they hadn’t.
The next Tuesday she arrived at work at 9.05am and was told by Ms Blake that she was late. Ms Clarke had no client at the time.
She asked for her wages but was informed by Ms Blake that she needed to attend a meeting at noon ”to be dealt with,” the ERA said in its report.
She was asked to leave the premises and told that police would be called.
Ms Clarke felt she had been dismissed. She was not paid wages for the last two weeks she worked.
Ms Blake sent her two letters requesting she attend an investigation over her performance and behaviour.
Ms Clarke sought help from a lawyer and a personal grievance was raised on her behalf with a claim made for wages not paid.
There was no reply to that letter and Ms Blake failed to attend two mediation meetings that had been arranged.
Ms Blake did not respond to the ERA’s request for documents despite proof of service, and did not show at its investigation meetings.
”The respondent’s reprehensible behaviour in failing completely with my investigation means I have received nothing from the respondent to hear its side of the story and any defence to the claims,” said ERA member Paul Stapp.
He found Ms Clarke was dismissed unjustifiably. He ordered the hair firm to pay her $8820 for three months’ lost wages, $1700 in wage arrears, $4000 compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings, $3000 to assist in her costs and $70 for a filing fee.