Worker Fired After her Emotional Health Deteriorates

A factory worker who was fired after her mental and emotional health deteriorated, has won her job back. She claimed that her emotional wellness and wellbeing suffered serious consequences after a male colleague sexually assaulted her in 2009.

The woman, who is unable to be named for legal reasons, worked for Annies, a food manufacturing company, in Blenheim. After being dismissed, she took her case against the company to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

In 2009, a male employee was fired after she accused him of sexually assaulting her during a shift. The case against him was not proven in court.

Following the case, the woman claimed that her job was changed. She subsequently wrote to her union, telling them of her unhappiness with some aspects of her role. A meeting then took place to address the issues raised, and her manager claimed she showed ‘extreme absenteeism’ for taking five sick days in six weeks. The company advised the woman to have counselling and offered to pay.

Following the meeting, the woman reportedly made a fist at her employer, whilst expressing her unhappiness at the outcome, to which she was told that her manager would not be intimidated. She then went into a side room, where she took a pair of scissors and placed them against her wrists, but she later replaced them in the drawer.

Suspended on full pay and with counselling the woman was later dismissed, being told that the incident amounted to serious misconduct.

However, the ERA has found that the woman’s behaviour should not have been viewed as serious misconduct, particularly as there were no warnings on the woman’s file for any kind of offences, and so she should not have been fired.

Representatives of the woman say that she is delighted to have her job back and looking forward to getting to know her old workmates again.

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