An Auckland director and his company Veer Enterprise Limited has until 18 October 2021 to pay $20,551 to a former employee who was unjustifiably dismissed.

The Employment Relations Authority issued a 28-day compliance order against Veer Enterprise Limited and its director Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal on September 20 2021, after his company, failed to pay Gurjit Singh following his successful personal grievance claim in June.

Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal
Director, Veer Enterprise

The company and its sole director and shareholder, Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal jointly owed Gurjit $10,000 in compensation, reimbursement of $6750 in lost wages, costs of $6696.56 and $3801.25 in arrears.

The company had also been penalised $3,000 for breaching the Wages Protection Act 1983, but this amount is due to the Authority, for transfer to a Crown Account.

On March 23 last year, the day the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced, Singh shared with his six fellow drivers an employment law column published on Stuff which discussed whether employers would have to pay wages during lockdowns.

Shortly after came Dhaliwal’s reply, giving him two weeks’ notice. Dhaliwal followed up with an email in which he said he was dismissing Singh for being late to work and for damaging work vehicles, and he would be making wage deductions for two accidents Singh had while driving for Veer. Singh was then removed from the drivers’ WhatsApp group.

Singh wrote back to his boss saying he was punctual and never took sick leave. Three days later, when he asked Dhaliwal for a letter explaining he was an essential service provider, in case his truck was halted by police during the lockdown, Dhaliwal declined, and Singh did not work for Veer again.

Singh approached Migrants Advocate who took the case on his behalf to the employment relations authority. Singh won his case in the ERA and determination issued on 10 June 2021.

Dhaliwal failed to comply with the authority’s determination. No payment has been made.

Singh filed another application for compliance orders, interest and further cost and the determination issued on 20 September 2021. Dhaliwal must comply within 28 days of the date of the determination.

Failing to comply with a compliance order could result in a fine of up to $40,000, and/or up to three months in jail.