Unfairly dismissed painter still unpaid

A painter and solo father awarded more than $15,000 after being unfairly dismissed in 2016 is still waiting for his former employer to pay up.

Samuel Bennett says he is fed up with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) because it has no powers to force dodgy bosses to pay a cent after it has issued penalties.

Mr Bennett was left in severe financial hardship after he was unfairly dismissed by his former Christchurch boss, Dean Langdon, in 2015.

The following year the ERA ruled his former boss pay Mr Bennett $15,390 in compensation and lost wages, which he still hasn't seen a cent of.

The ERA has no power to make Mr Bennett's former employer pay, so Mr Bennett must take his case to the District Court or Employment Court, which means more legal fees.

The 2016 ERA ruling also stated Mr Langdon must pay $4500 to the ERA, of which $1000 would go to Mr Bennett.

Mr Bennett says he is angry because the ERA has made no attempt to pursue his former employer over this amount.

Employment law expert Max Whitehead says this highlights a major broader problem. He says workers who complain to the ERA often don't receive any money unless they fork out legal fees to go to court, and it impacts future employment as ERA cases are public.

"I get clients all the time saying my name keeps coming up on Google associated with my case. Even though I've won, no one wants me anymore because I'm associated with suing my boss."

Mr Bennett has since relocated to Tauranga in order to find work and continues to fight in District Court for his awarded amount, with money that would otherwise go towards his son.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: