Labor & Employment
Fired Over Office E-Mail, Accountant Wins $17K and Wants More
Posted Sep 1, 2009 1:59 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Accountant Vicki Walker's e-mail may indeed have contributed to disharmony in the workplace, as her employer claimed.
But her block capitals, use of boldface and colored type and alleged "confrontational" attempts to find out about complaints made against her didn't establish sufficient grounds to warrant her termination, a New Zealand administrative tribunal has ruled.
A member of the Employment Relations Authority also noted that Walker's Auckland employer, ProCare Health, for which she worked as a financial controller, had no formal policy on e-mail, and created a lack of clarity about what was and wasn't acceptable, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Walker was awarded $17,500 and wants more.
"I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money from my sister to make it through," she tells the newspaper. "They nearly ruined my life."
ProCare didn't respond to the newspaper's request for comment on the ruling.