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Awarded NZ$17k for UNFAIR DISMISSAL

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A NZ woman who was sacked for sending "confrontational" emails in red, bold and CAPITAL LETTERS has been awarded NZ$17k (£7,150) for unfair dismissal, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Financial controller Vicki Walker was shown the door at ProCare Health back in December 2007 for her lack of netiquette. One particular email missive, cited by ProCare, trumpeted to fellow workers: "TO ENSURE YOUR STAFF CLAIM IS PROCESSED AND PAID, PLEASE DO FOLLOW THE BELOW CHECK LIST."

ProCare considered such emails "caused disharmony in the workplace", and were sufficient grounds for dismissal.

The Employment Relations Authority disagreed, and ruled that Walker was "not fairly terminated from her position". Authority member Alastair Dumbleton described her as a "capable and competent employee" who'd "received no warnings" over her emails.

He added that "while she had contributed to disharmony in the workplace it was not to the extent that dismissal was fair or reasonable".

Walker was awarded NZ$6,000 for lost wages and NZ$11,500 for "any harm caused through her dismissal".

She's now calling for "greater protection for white-collar workers from the financial, emotional and mental stresses involved in a dispute with a big corporate employer".

She explained: "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. They nearly ruined my life."

ProCare "did not respond to a request for comment on the compensation ruling", the NZ Herald concludes. ®

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