ERA rules whistleblower was unfairly dismissed

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A Christchurch painter was found to have been unjustifiably dismissed after being sacked for reporting her employer’s tax evasion.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ordered Nomis Painters and Decorating to pay $10,000 in compensation to Karla Botting for humiliation and loss of dignity.

Botting blew the whistle on her boss after finding that her employer, Simon Johannis, had deducted student loan repayments and taxes from her wages without paying them to Inland Revenue. She was informed of this by the department, who told her that no student loan repayments had been received from her.

Botting confronted Johannis, and was made redundant five days later.

Over her four-week notice period, Botting was not allowed to take leave, which had previously been agreed upon. She also claimed that she had had to take unpaid time off in order to provide evidence to Inland Revenue that she had been employed by the company, and had to pay interest on her student loan because it had not been paid.

The employer argued that she had lost her job due to their being no work for her.

However, this was rejected by the authority, saying that her whistleblowing was likely to have been a key factor in her being made redundant.

“I find on the balance of probabilities that Nomis has an ulterior reason for terminating its relationship with Botting, which was not a genuine redundancy,” said authority member Helen Boyle.

Botting was awarded $10,000 in compensation and $1980 for lost wages.
 
 

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