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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 14846
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I am a small business owner. yesterday, my sole employee and

Customer Question

I am a small business owner. yesterday, my sole employee and I had a disagreement over something I asked him to do, which was not unreasonable. However he swore at me, then walked out of my shop ,not to return.he has not turned up today.He has made no contact with me at all.He does not have a written contract with me.Does this constitute in stant dismissal ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
This is a situation where the employee may have abandoned his employment, rather than an issue of instant dismissal. But you do need to be careful if you do not have a written employment contract. If you were to say that he was dismissed, he may be able to bring a claim for an unfair dismissal. The reason for this is that there is a procedure for dismissal which requires oral and written warnings, but there must also be behaviour of a serious nature. In this case he certainly should not have sworn at you. That would be grounds for a written final warning if this is the 1st time this has happened. If it has been part of a pattern of behaviour then you would need to call for a meeting to discuss this, with an oral warning and a written warning that he was not to repeat this and if he did so then he would be dismissed. If he chooses not to return to work then I suggest you wait a few more days, then write to him and say that he has abandoned his employment, and sent him his final pay and any accrued holiday pay. There is no particular time required, but you would be entitled to do so after a week without any contact.