14 Sep 2015

Sacked crane operator receives $10k compensation

2:00 pm on 14 September 2015

A Christchurch crane operator has been awarded $10,000 in damages after being fired for allegedly using his cell phone while operating a 60-ton crane.

Christchurch crane.

A Daniel Smith crane in Christchurch (file photograph). Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Employment Relations Authority found Paul Baines was unjustifiably dismissed from his job at Daniel Smith Industries in August last year, after he received a letter warning him the crane needed his full attention and cell phone use was not permitted.

Mr Baines denied using his cell phone.

Company owner Daniel Smith said there were repetitive safety breaches, despite instructions and warnings.

But the Authority found Mr Smith did not investigate the allegation himself.

As there was no opportunity for Mr Baines to respond, the Authority found Mr Baines' dismissal was not justified, and awarded him compensation for lost wages and loss of dignity.