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March 2021

Employers’ expensive lesson

Owners of a Café at Taumaranui employed two workers. An investigation by the Labour Inspectorate showed the owners did not keep accurate wage, time, holiday and leave records for the workers and did not pay them at least the minimum wage or their full annual and public holiday entitlements. The owners were prosecuted. The evidence showed that in some weeks the workers worked for a total of 77 hours each, double what was specified in their employment agreement.

The Employment Court noted that the owners had subsequently paid the workers $36,191 in outstanding wages and holiday pay. However, the Court also ordered that the owners must pay $70,000 in penalties plus $20,000 in compensation to the two workers. 

An expensive lesson for the owners! 

Kitset home director fined $80k for breaching Fair Trading Act

The director of a now insolvent company was fined $80,000 in the District Court for breaching the Fair Trading Act for demanding or accepting payment for kitset buildings when the director did not have reasonable grounds to believe that delivery could occur within the period agreed, or within a reasonable time. In addition to the fine, the Court awarded reparations in favour of three customers totalling $43,090.76.

Under the Act, businesses and their directors must behave responsibly and treat customers fairly. Customers must not be misled into paying in advance, or paying a deposit, if the business and their directors do not reasonably expect to be able to supply the goods they have promised within a reasonable time period.

The Court described the offending director as having spun “a tangled web of fiction” that was “outright deception”.