A truck driver fired “out of the blue” a month before Christmas, has been awarded $22,800 for unjustifiable dismissal.
Stephen Taylor worked at Farm Beach Transport Limited from April 2018 til November 2018.
On November 22 he noticed on his payslip that he had been paid for a week of annual leave rather than his normal wage, even though he had not taken time off
The authority said: “Farm Beach’s dismissal was more likely than not done in retaliation for Mr Taylor querying the improper and unlawful way in which Farm Beach had dealt with his annual holiday entitlements.”
Taylor was dismissed via email on November 25.
Hinton told Taylor he would be paid two weeks’ annual holiday pay as his notice.
Taylor was not given any reason for the dismissal and told he owed the company $491.
Farm Beach did not take part in the authority’s investigation.
Farm Beach paid Taylor a total of $3000 holiday pay for the three weeks ending December 9, 2018.
“Farm Beach had no right to pay out $3000 in holiday pay to Mr Taylor who had not asked for annual holiday, who did not want to use his annual holiday entitlement, who had not accrued that much annual holiday because he had not worked for a full 12 months, and who had not been instructed by Farm Beach to take paid annual holiday in advance of his entitlement.”
The authority said Taylor’s dismissal was “out of the blue”.
It said he was “clearly unjustifiably disadvantaged” because of the way in which Farm Beach dealt with his annual holiday.
“Farm Beach as an employer is not able to unilaterally decide to suddenly pay out Mr Taylor’s annual holiday entitlements,” the authority said.
Taylor said he suffered distress from the sudden dismissal, struggled to find a job before Christmas and was out of work for eight weeks from December till February.
Taylor was awarded $10,000 in compensation for distress, $8650 in lost remuneration, $2569 in wage arrears, $1200 for legal costs and $452.06 in filing and service fees.