17 Dec 2015

Bleach attack victim's employment claim rejected

2:04 pm on 17 December 2015

A Northland Regional Council worker who had bleach thrown in his eyes while going to work has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

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Bleach was thrown into Michael Nager's eyes in the roadside attack Photo: 123

The Employment Relations Authority has dismissed the claims of Michael Nager, an environmental monitoring officer who said he was bullied by the council and unjustifiably dismissed.

Mr Nager was attacked and had bleach thrown in his eyes in June 2013, while on his way to court to give evidence against two Far North men who had defied council orders to stop digging up wetlands and ancient kauri logs.

The pair were swamp kauri miners who later admitted that offence, although nobody was ever charged with the attack.

Mr Nager, a former dairy farmer, worked for the council for 11 years and was attacked after he pulled over into a layby when a car behind him repeatedly flashed its lights in the early morning fog.

Mr Nager said the two men punched him, threw bleach in his eyes, cut his face and warned him to stay away - leaving him blinded and helpless, after taking his phone and wallet.

He was dismissed by the council on medical grounds in March 2014, after he returned to work and then took six months paid sick leave, saying he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Nager claimed the Northland Regional Council had bullied him and dismissed him without justification.

But the ERA has found the Council treated him fairly and was justified in ending his employment.

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