A beautician warned for her bad attitude and bad breath has been awarded more than $8000 after making a personal grievance claim against her New Zealand employer.
Rashimi Bhola was employed by Preet Enterprises Limited, operating at Kess Hair & Beauty in the Auckland suburb of Sylvia Park, in November 2009 and complained to the Employment Relation Authority that she was unjustifiably dismissed on December 30, 2010 and should be paid lost wages and compensation.
According to a recently released authority decision, Bhola, who was employed as a beautician and hairdresser, was given a written warning in November 2010 for speaking to other staff "about personal matters" pertaining to her boss, salon owner Gurpreet Arora and his family.
Arora claimed about the same time the salon had received a number of complaints from clients who were unhappy with Bhola's work and claimed she was arrogant and unwilling to listen to their requirements.
Bhola was spoken to "but without any effect", as further complaints were forthcoming including some from staff and customers about her "very bad breath", the decision reads.
"Mr Arora attests that as this was a delicate matter he was cautious about raising this with Mrs Bhola and made suggestions that she should perhaps chew mints or receive some assistance from a dentist."
Arora claimed the continuing complaints were "destroying the business reputation" and gave Bhola a formal written warning on November 24, 2010.
The letter included claims Bhola had harassed a work colleague or customer and had a "serious or repeated failure to follow a reasonable instruction" but the authority said neither claim was explained.
On 30 December 2010 Bhola was asked to stay on after 6pm to help customers and when she declined to do so she claimed Arora told her: "if you don't attend these clients, don't come tomorrow".
Arora said the problems with Bhola began earlier that day. He told the authority Bhola was late to work, refused to take an early lunch break when the business was quiet, instead taking it when the salon was busy, then later worked slowly on one client so she didn't have time to tend to others before she was due to finish. She then refused to stay on.
Arora claimed Bhola, when spoken to, said she didn't want to work at the salon anymore.
Bhola said she returned to the salon the following day and apologised for her actions and requested a termination letter.
The authority found Bhola was "issued with an ultimatum" by Arora, that being if she didn't service the customers on December 30 she should not come to work the next day: in other words, she was dismissed.
The proper course of action, the authority said, would have been to suspend Bhola on pay "while he (Arora) sought advice and contemplated what action would be appropriate", or to raise the matter the following day then allow her time to get professional advice and respond.
The authority said Arora's actions were not what a "fair and reasonable employer" would have done.
Bhola was paid out four weeks salary, $2480, given $4000 compensation as her dismissal had "ruined the Christmas festivities for her and her family" and $4782.45 in wage arrears and unpaid leave.
However, the authority reduced her payments by 50 per cent as she had contributed to the situation by "firmly" setting herself against Arora and engaging in "negative or disruptive" behaviour.
Bhola was paid out a total of $8022.45.