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Cleaner wins case over irregular wages

11:36 Wed Sep 18 2013

A Baptist Church in Christchurch has been ordered to cough up more than $6000 after failing to pay one of its cleaners fully on a regular basis.

Minimum wage cleaner Bernie Yeatman was underpaid or paid late on several occasions by Hosanna Baptist Church, trading as Shoreline Cleaning Services, from 2011 onwards.

Mr Yeatman was told by Shoreline's owner Fale Leota in August last year that he could not pay him as it was not being paid by the client that Mr Yeatman worked for, Red Bus Limited.

But when Mr Yeatman asked Red Bus to pay his bosses, Red Bus said it was paying Shoreline promptly.

Mr Yeatman said his pay problems meant he missed rent payments, had to take out high-interest loans for living expenses, and he was required to use his own money to pay for work equipment because his boss failed to provide them.

He resigned in September last year, claiming he had been constructively dismissed, and has since been directly employed by Red Bus.

After Mr Leota failed to show up to an Employment Relations Authority hearing, ERA member Christine Hickey found Mr Yeatman had been unjustifiably constructively dismissed and was unjustifiably disadvantaged during his employment.

"Non-payment of wages on time can never be justified," she said.

Shoreline was told to pay him $1604 for unpaid holiday pay, underpaid wages for working on public holidays and for alternative holidays not taken, $480 in reimbursement for cleaning products Mr Yeatman bought for his job.

She ordered Shoreline to pay Mr Yeatman $5000 in compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to his feelings, and said he was eligible for legal costs.