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Fired for using too much sauce

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, November 12th, 2010 - 46 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

The Nats are determined to push through more attacks on the rights of working New Zealanders. The latest stories of abuse of the Fire at Will law to emerge involve a chef who ‘who used too much sauce’ and a dairy worker who stood up for an abused immigrant worker. The Nats want all of us to be subject to Fire at Will.

Our job is to fight back.

How? By spreading the word about what they are doing, by spreading the videos like the two below.

We’ve got to make it as politically expensive as possible for National to attack the rights of workers. They’re only doing it because they know most people don’t understand that under the new law they will be subject to a period of 90 days in a new job with no protection from unfair dismissal. They know that most people don’t realise that 1 in 5 workers on 90-day periods are being fired and have no right to challenge to legitimacy of their dismissal in court, or even be given a reason.

The more people that know, the more costly this becomes for National. It won’t stop the law passing, but it will make it that much more likely that we get a government next year that will repeal Fire at Will and protect the rights of working New Zealanders.

46 comments on “Fired for using too much sauce”

  1. Jared 1

    In the first case he would have good grounds to go to the Employment Court. An Employer can only invoke the 90 day law IF it has been expressly inserted in a contract. If he hasn’t been given a contract, the 90 day rule doesn’t apply. Helen Kelly would know that, but im sure it sounds like a great story regardless.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      but he was fired under the auspices of fire at will.

      Now he’s out of a job and needing to go through the courts to hopefully get some compensation but your attitude seems to be as long as he wins there’s no harm, no foul and fire at will is ok.

      We’ll see if you feel the same when it happens to someone dear to you.

    • Bill 1.2

      Yeah Jared,…sort of. Two or three points. There have been no employment contracts for employees since 2000. And grievances go to mediation, not the employment court.

      And the guy in question is or was probably as ignorant of the law as you. Which disadvantages him in the context of any employment relationship. Meanwhile, the employer, who has ready access to legal advice doesn’t need to have any knowledge of the law and can safely assume there is none (in the first 90 days anyway)…which is to his advantage in the context of any employment relationship.

      But, meanwhile. Lets say a grievance is raised. The employer simply produces an unsigned Agreement (agreements don’t have to be signed to have effect); points out that there is no record of disagreement being expressed over any of it’s provisions and the 90 Days dismissal nonsense stands depending on what side of “Yes there was (an Agreement). No there wasn’t” pantomime the dice fall.

      • Jared 1.2.1

        Sorry, Employment Agreement. By the sounds of it the employer was equally as ignorant as the employee when it came to employment relations and legal rights, however, as im sure you understand, ignorance of the law is not a good defence, and shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
        As stated in the preamble, a 90 day clause needs to be agreed to, and a written, signed agreement would back that up. I would hardly think the court would decide in favour of an employer who presents an unsigned employment agreement, compounded by the fact the employee had neither seen, or signed the contract.

        More to the point, there a specific examples of similar situations of employers trying to invoke the 90 day trial period, where they couldn’t http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10668569 . And to be clear, by not providing a written agreement, the 90 day period cannot be invoked.

        • Bill 1.2.1.1

          You miss the crucial point Jared, which is that an unsigned employment agreement does not indicate that the employee disagreed with the terms and conditions on offer and is generally regarded as being the same as a signed one unless there is some traceable indication of disagreement.

          To that end, it is perfectly feasible that an unscrupulous employer could produce an Agreement, out of the hat as it were, and successfully argue that the Agreement had been in existence all along ( all employment agreements must be in writing, afterall!) and that the employee had simply never signed it.

  2. M 2

    ‘We’ve got to make it as politically expensive as possible for National to attack the rights of workers.’

    Yes indeed – being sacked for using too much sauce must be one of the lamest excuses I’ve ever heard – did the employer not have a tongue in his head to let Aaron know anything was amiss?

    I hope this bastard’s business sinks without trace – now that really would be sauce for the gander.

    • Bazar 2.1

      How About the other perspective instead of relying on what one person whos totaly biased said.?

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/4337400/Sacked-chef-alleges-unfair-dismissal

      ——————
      Earlier, Mr Collins had said Mr Greave was not sacked because he used too much sauce and aioli.

      “On the last day, my mum, the owner of the cafe, said to him, cut the use out, it’s too much wastage.

      “[He was sacked] because he would change menus, wouldn’t listen to me as a superior.

      “He wouldn’t listen to any instructions either from the owners of the cafe or myself as manager. [He] wouldn’t do his job the way we required it.

      “He just wasn’t what we were looking for in a chef and basically I believe he just wasn’t willing to have a younger … member in charge.”

      Mr Collins, who is 22 years old, said his age was a problem for Mr Greave, who called Mr Collins “very inexperienced” in the video.

      “I’ve had far more experience than him,” Mr Collins said.

      He said Mr Greave was using the sauce and aioli excuse as a “scapegoat”.

      He had been given a week to finish up.

      ———————-

      So he wasn’t sacked over just too much sauce.
      He wasn’t just fired, but given a weeks notice.

      Both parties seem to be ignorant of the law, but its clear that if its an unfair dismissal, he’ll easily win his case for whatever he pleases. Be it re-employment and/or damages. The 90 day law doesn’t apply here.

      • The Voice of Reason 2.1.1

        “So he wasn’t sacked over just too much sauce.He wasn’t just fired, but given a weeks notice.”

        He was sacked, the weeks notice doesn’t alter that. The whining excuses Collins gives actually makes it worse, because clearly, if they felt they grounds to complain, they could have given him counselling, then warnings, then dismissal. But instead of managing their staff member properly, they used bad law to cover their incompetence.

        Have to agree that it doesn’t appear to be lawful as neither party is saying that the 90 day clause was in his contract, so I’d say he’s gonna be a few grand richer pretty soon.

        • Bazar 2.1.1.1

          “He was sacked, the weeks notice doesn’t alter that. The whining excuses Collins gives actually makes it worse, because clearly, if they felt they grounds to complain, they could have given him counselling, then warnings, then dismissal. But instead of managing their staff member properly, they used bad law to cover their incompetence.”

          From the youtube comments section, from someone who claims they worked at the cafe:

          “What a joke, never been sacked, this person walked out of my kitchen mid shift at an extremely busy time of the year, absolutely no notice because the boss had corrected him for not listening to orders and continually doing things his way.Out of all the staff I have had in my kitchen in 6 years he is the only one I would not recommend for a job.If I had my way he would have been sacked on his 2nd week when his true self showed.Does NZCTU believe everything they are told”

          Sounds like hes a pretty unmanagable staff member.
          But hey, lets take his side because obviously his employer is at fault for dismissing him over just the sauce… We have his word thats all it was about, and no reason to distrust his unbaised view…

          • The Voice of Reason 2.1.1.1.1

            Actually it’s not clear if the person commenting is referring to the same cafe at all, Bazar. But even so, any worker can be performance managed under the current legislation and the cafe is going to get done, ahem, like a dinner, because they relied on a bad bit of law to save them the bother of managing properly.

      • Fisiani 2.1.2

        It is yet another own goal by the CTU. Another face plant moment.
        Quite clearly if there was no contract then the 90 day provision is irrelevant and a red herring.
        They still have not produced a single clear evidence of misuse of the 90 day rule.

        • The Voice of Reason 2.1.2.1

          Er, no.

          The cafe fired him claiming they could do so under the 90 day rules. Well, that’s what he’s claiming and they do not deny it in the Timaru Herald story and you seem to think so, too. That’s exactly the kind of misuse the campaign is trying to highlight, not the narrow concept in your head. Have a look at the website, it’s loader broader in scope than you seem to think:

          http://fairness.org.nz/

          If they’d got away with it, they’d have successfully unfairly dismissed a worker using the provision as cover. That’s what the unions are trying to highlight in this particularly case and it clearly shows how the 90 days fire at will law can be exploited in ignorance or in malice.

          So, the own goal is into the back of yer own auld onion bag, my son. CTU 1, Fisiani FC 0

          • Bazar 2.1.2.1.1

            CTU 1?
            For finding someone trying to abuse the law through ignorance or malice?

            Thats some really low standards you have there.
            Any law, or rule for that matter, will be abused through ignorance or malice. Its human nature.

            Trying to repeal the law because it can be abused is just the wrong way to go about it. The best answer is to educuate the involved parties. Both the employer and employee.

            If you disagree, then why do we have fishing quotas. Its easily exploited by malice or ignorance. Should we repeal those laws as well?

            The point i’m making, is that the best outcome involved in that case would be for both parties to be aware of the 90 day rule and its limitations.
            Calling this case a flaw in the 90 day law is unjustifiable.

            • The Voice of Reason 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Actually, the standard is neither low nor high. It is a standard. The law should be repealed and the proposed extension should be scrapped because it is inherently bad law, that removes rights NZ citizens have enjoyed since the country was first subject to British law. The fact that it also encourages abuse is just another reason to do away with it.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.1.2.1.1.2

              Thats some really low standards you have there.

              So says the guy quoting youtube comments. Mate. Please.

  3. “Not the Kiwi way of doing things” “Not fair for the working man and woman”.

    Absolutely. And bloody typical of the pull-the-ladder-up behind them Tories.

    Smiley Wavey’s to do list
    “First, get a free state education.” (check)
    “Work part-time in worker friendly employment regime.” (check)
    “Go overseas to make mega-bucks with no student loan.” (check)
    “Come back and run Parliament in safe seat.” (check)
    “Become PM.” (check)
    “Pass 90 day laws.” (check)
    “Take NZ back to 19th C” (check?!)

    • burt 3.1

      Given the unions want to hold us in the 18th C, the 19th C is progress don’t you think ?

      • felix 3.1.1

        Well you’ve typed it half a dozen times so I suppose it must be true by now.

        The unions according to burt:

        * Exist mainly to line the pockets of officials;
        * Secondary function: Ruining burt’s holiday every 30 years or so;
        * Derive pleasure from deliberately hurting the interests of members;

        and now we can add another sacred truth to the doctrine:
        * Want to take us back to the 18th century

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Actually, it’s more that the unions want to hold on to the rights that we got in through the 20th century and NACT wants to remove them and take us back to the 15th century.

  4. Rharn 4

    You missed out the bit of taking advantage of the wages and conditions by way of the trade union movement while working as a student in the holidays

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    In the first one the guy was fired for a made up excuse and, when questioned, then said it was under the 90 day fire at will. This sounds like neither the employer nor the employee really knew what the law actually says (The 90 day fire at will is opt in and so must be on a signed and witnessed agreement if it isn’t then the minimum employment conditions apply). The union in this case should be taking the employer to court on behalf of the cook for unfair dismissal.

    That said, the employer did use it as an excuse for unacceptable bullying.

  6. Todd 6

    I get quite mad when I get treated like an idiot thats meant to believe the first story.Its oviously meant to suck in the stupid.Kelly will have already told him to take the employer to mediation where he will win.This has nothing to do with the 90 day law.Mind you as the business has folded he might not get much.If he has been in hospitality for a while as he says and a good chef,why did he go for a job in a crappy two bob place like that?If he is good i could get him several jobs if he wanted to move.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      If he has been in hospitality for a while as he says and a good chef,why did he go for a job in a crappy two bob place like that?

      You may not have noticed but there’s a recession on.

  7. Vicky32 7

    Unfortunately I can’t see the videos (dial up) so I would really like to know details! Can anyone refer to a text version of these peoples’ stories?
    Deb

  8. Fabregas4 8

    Not that I’m not on the side of the worker but another 1 in 5! In NZ they are everywhere. I’m starting a list and will report back in 2.4 months.

  9. Video #2 is plain scary – maybe some more rural folk will think twice before ticking the local Nat’s box. Notice none of the usual suspects are defending the farmer there, even if they attack the credibility of the chef. (The cafe’s owner’s excuses are post hoc ergo proctor hoc)

    Which proves the point that certain types will abuse this law for their own purposes. It was bleeding obvious that the owner should have puilled his son’s head in, lest they face more serious consequences down the line, i.e. assault and/or harrassment charges.

  10. Sean Brooks 10

    Next time the donkey wont use that much sauce. Im sure if this guy is a great cook with a lot of experience, resturants will be begging him to come to work for them.

    • felix 10.1

      You for real? Using too much sauce = instant dismissal?

      Geez, what happens if you show up late for work? Lose a finger?

      I’m starting to think your gravatar is no accident, Sean.

      • Sean Brooks 10.1.1

        Ramsay has fired people for less.

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1

          Ramsay is a noted fuckwit. Is that the bar now?

          You could make bracelets.

          “WWFD?”

          • Sean Brooks 10.1.1.1.1

            Ramsay has 12 stars, the Oscars of the food world, say waht you like about the reality tv star, he knows his food.

            • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1.1.1

              So the bar for industrial relationship management is “knows a lot about food”?

              Perhaps we should get a shit hot interior decorator to sort out monetary policy.

              • Jim Nald

                That would beat the lazy ventriloquist now for the wooden dummy in the House.
                Folks might more likely see what the shit hot interior decorator looks like.

              • Sean Brooks

                The industry standard is the chef rules the roost, because they have become head chef for the years of practise.

                Its a shame that ramsay could never open a resturant here, because the unions would be screaming to his workers “You have worked three hours, take a mintue break”

                • The Voice of Reason

                  Ramsay won’t be opening a restaurant here or anywhere for that matter, as he is too busy going broke, breaking up his family and losing Michelin stars while blaming his wild mood swings on his staff.

                  But keep fantasising about what unions do, Sean. Never mind that smoko breaks are law in NZ and not just in union agreements.

                  • Sean Brooks

                    Thevoiceofreason:

                    I dont read the tabloids. It seems you do.

                    My point is, in the food industry, its not praticial to ask for 15 mintue breaks every three hours, during service.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Which is why there isn’t a restaurant industry in NZ.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Jeez, I’ve been called some awful things before, but nobody has ever accused me of reading tabloids till now. Sean Brooks Ate My Hampster!

                      Just try googling Ramsay, Sean. He’s having some kind of breakdown even as we speak.

                  • M

                    VoR

                    Poetic justice for that SOB – he’s a sociopath whose raison d’étre is not to be one of the best chefs but to be an arsehole to as many people as he can get away with.

                    It’s irritating when you witness staff being harried like his are and you have to wonder if they don’t engage in some sabotage as a means of redressing the balance – media leaks re his paramour/s, bromide in his tea….

                    Just where does this very average person get off treating people so viciously?

                    • Sean Brooks

                      Yet most his staff through out the years, has stuck by him, and all the top food guides, (and im not talking watties food in a minute) still rank him as one of the worlds top chefs.

                    • Joachim's

                      “Yet most his staff through out the years, has stuck by him”

                      Hype. Bet you cannot even name 3 such kitchen staff members who have been with him for over 5 years.

        • Vicky32 10.1.1.2

          Ramsay is on TV, Sean… Firing people is part of the show, AFAIK. It’s all a joke! (There, have a lie down, as I am sure that’s shocking news to you..)

  11. Sean Brooks 11

    voiceofreason:

    I dont read and care what fleet street has to say.

  12. Frank Macskasy 12

    The 90 Day Law applies….

    It doesn’t apply…

    Any law that is so vague and open to interpretation is a bad law.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago