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Farm Manager Gets $3000 And A Pig After Dismissal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Farm Manager Gets $3000 And A Pig After Dismissal

Whakatane, May 26 NZPA - The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ordered Whakatane dairy farmers Grant and Megan Catley to pay their former farm manager Tiemen Corporaal $3000 -- and a pig -- in compensation.
The ERA found Mr and Mrs Catley, in restructuring their poorly performing farm business, had failed to act fairly and reasonably towards Mr Corporaal.
ERA member Vicki Campbell said Mr Corporaal had engaged in misleading conduct by not telling the Catleys that he had been offered and accepted alternative employment.
Mr Corporaal, who was employed on the Catley farm from October 2007 until May 2008, said he had been unjustifiably disadvantaged in his employment, then unjustifiably dismissed by reason of redundancy.
But Ms Campbell said the redundancy was genuine.
She said Mr and Mrs Catley were experiencing significant financial difficulties and had to seek financial assistance from Mrs Catley's mother, who took responsibility for the couple's mortgage payments.
Ms Campbell said Mr Corporaal could not be compensated for the loss of his job, but could be for the failure of the Catleys to act fairly and reasonably in restructuring their business.
As well as $3000 compensation, she also ordered the Catleys to pay Mr Corporaal the $717 wrongfully deducted from his final pay.
The ERA also found Mr Corporaal was entitled to receive a pig -- one of three he had looked after.
The pig had been killed by another farm worker for the Catleys.
Ms Campbell said although the agreement signed at the beginning of their employment relationship did not mention pigs, there was no dispute that Mr Corporaal was entitled to one.
He claimed he was also owed a beast, but Ms Campbell said the onus of proving this lay with Mr Corporaal and he had failed to do so.
At the time of the dispute the Catleys owned a farm in Tokoroa and were sharemilkers on the Whakatane farm where they employed Mr Corporaal.
The ERA noted the Tokoroa farm had been badly affected by the drought and the Whakatane herd was not performing to expectations.
Ms Campbell said undisputed evidence was milk production on both farms was low and income had decreased significantly while expenses had increased.

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