Ruling Queenstown employee unjustifiably dismissed

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Hot chips got a bar manager into hot water with the Employment Relations Authority, which has ruled the company behind The Lodge Glenorchy to pay a former employee more than $8000. 

In a decision dated September 9, ERA member Michael Loftus ruled Nicolette Gladding was unjustifiably dismissed by lodge manager Graham Dunstan following an incident on September 7 last year. 

Gladding began working for the business, owned by Softail Services Ltd, on June 30, 2013, and told the authority she was employed part-time as a duty manager. Dunstan contended she was employed casually and her hours could be altered. 

In the decision, Loftus says Gladding was acting as duty manager on September 7 and Dunstan was there drinking with patrons. 

Gladding refused to serve a patron who was making inappropriate comments and asked him to leave about 11.45pm, which he apparently did. 

She then told Dunstan she was going to fry some chips for the patrons, which angered Dunstan, who said he was not prepared to feed people who had been drinking at a competing establishment. 

Later, Dunstan asked Gladding for ”a 7oz glass” and gave it to the customer she had previously evicted.

“Her reaction was to replace her name with Mr Dunstan’s name as duty manager.” 

Dunstan took exception to the claim he drank with the evicted patron and said he was negotiating a departure.

He says Gladding failed to work a shift on September 11 and failed to notify why. 

Gladding told the authority she did not know she was required to work. 

Loftus found Gladding was a part-time employee and there was no evidence of consultation with Gladding, concluding Dunstan ”wanted rid of Ms Gladding”. 

He ordered Softail Services Ltd, owner of The Lodge Glenorchy, to pay Gladding $5317 gross as recompense for lost wages; $3000 for hurt, humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings; and $71.56 for the costs incurred in making the application to the authority. 

Otago Daily Times