The former owners of a Bay of Plenty grocery store have been ordered to pay $17,000 dollars to a worker who was unfairly sacked.
In a ruling, the Employment Relations Authority says Stacey Sisson’s bosses at the Nosh store in Mount Maunganui failed to properly investigate the customer complaints they said were the reason she lost her job.
Stacey was 19 at the time she was working at the store, in the deli, in 2016.
The Authority says the store received emailed complaints from customers about a person who was working in the deli serving food with no gloves on.
But there was no evidence the complaints were properly investigated, or that Stacey was given all the information and a chance to respond.
Because of that, a reasonable employer could not come to the conclusion that Stacey was to blame, the Authority says.
"As a result the employer’s actions in terminating her employment, in the way it was done and for the supposed reasons it was done, were unjustified."
The company that owned the store, Good Food Trading, went into liquidation last month, but the authority has ruled that the company’s owners are personally liable to pay the amount awarded, which covers reimbursement of lost wages, compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings, and arrears of wages and holiday pay.