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Sacked worker meets payback

Postby otdrmn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:42 pm

Sacked worker meets payback
Imran Ali | Monday, December 26, 2011 12:00
Article from The Northern Advocate

A street lighting linesman sacked for cheating on his timesheet has been ordered to pay back the money.

George Maru was sacked by McKay Electrical in Whangarei in May 2010 after an investigation into hours he clocked up revealed discrepancies between his timesheets and GPS records from the company vehicle he had been driving.

Maru took a personal grievance case to the Employment Relations Authority, demanding reimbursement of wages and compensation. His employer had said he had claimed $788 for 30 hours he did not work.

Authority member Ken Anderson ruled McKay Electrical had carried out a full and fair investigation, and was justified in sacking Maru. Maru's duties had involved maintenance of street lights and he was provided with a GPS-fitted company vehicle.

In April 2010 manager of McKay Electrical in Hamilton Peter Lingley decided to compare Maru's timesheets and GPS records for 34 days.

The GPS system provided information such as when the motor was turned off and on, whether it was idling, moving or stationary, its speed and the vehicle's location at any time.

Company human resources manager Elizabeth Galbraith said it also appeared Maru had used the vehicle for personal use without permission. She had found Maru was the only person in the company with such marked discrepancies.

Maru gave reasons for discrepancies between his timesheets and the GPS records including the time it took to set up his laptop, time for the weather to clear before he started work, vehicle maintenance, catching up on paperwork, and dropping his wife off at home before going back to the work depot.

Mr Lingley questioned that if Maru had had trouble with his laptop, why had he not contacted the company for repairs? It was unlikely Maru was unable to work due to weather conditions and it was not necessary to wash the vehicle daily, he said.

Mr Anderson ruled: "I find that a fair and reasonable employer faced with the evidence regarding Mr Maru's timesheets and GPS records, and taking into account his implausible explanations for the discrepancies identified, would have concluded that his conduct deeply impaired or was destructive of the basic trust and confidence that is essential to the employment relationship," and ordered Maru to pay back $788 he had wrongfully claimed.
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