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ERA finding that worker was unjustifiably dismissed for using drugs at work

Published 10 Aug 2011

In the case of Costley v Waimea Nurseries Limited [2011] NZERA Christchurch, the Employment Relations Authority ('ERA') found that the employee was unjustifiably dismissed for using drugs at work because his employer had not disclosed to him information that was relevant in reaching their decision to dismiss him. The information was an admission by another employee that he (the other employee) and Costley had used the drug.

The ERA found that by not disclosing the other employee admission to him, the employer had withheld the piece of information that was most relevant to the decision to dismiss, and that this was a breach of the employer's obligation to deal with the employee in good faith under s4(1A)(c) of the Employment Relations Act 2000.

This decision again emphasises that employers must follow a fair procedure when disciplining or dismissing employees. This includes providing the employee with any relevant information that may be relied on by the employer in reaching their decision.

Learn what your rights are and how to protect your business. See our Drug & Alcohol Testing System, (Free to Employer Support Package members).