The pitfalls of breaking up

Well. ?Turns out, when you break up with your partner, and you also employ them, you still need to follow due process to fire them. ?awk-waaaaard

A Taranaki man’s company has been ordered to pay his ex-wife more than $100,000 in wages and other costs after he sacked her when they split up.

Employment Relations Authority member Paul Stapp found Hee Seung Lee, sole director of Dream High Ltd, failed to pay his estranged wife and former employee Hye Rim Ji for work she did at their sushi business on High St in Hawera.

Stapp also found Lee was responsible for Ji’s unjustified dismissal in 2013.

Dream High, which Ji and Lee have equal shares in, was ordered to pay her a total of $95,287.50 in unpaid wages and holiday pay, lost wages and compensation.

In addition, the company will also have to pay Ji $5474.89 in ERA hearing costs and fees – a total payment of $100,762.40.

You know Labour, employment law is just fine when it is easier to get rid of the mother of your children than it is to get rid of an employee. ?

Ji kicked Lee out of the family home and in retaliation he cut off the power and phone and stopped paying her completely. He also put her on notice at work.

Ji’s employment ended when Lee retaliated in regard to their break-up, he said.

On June 3, 2013, Ji left because she could no longer handle the harassment threats and behaviour of Lee.

“It is my finding the dismissal was unjustified,” Stapp said. “A fair and reasonable employer could not have acted the way the respondent has leaving a clear impression that the family and personal relationship matters had become all-consuming between them and the ulterior motive for his decision relating to his action.”

It was then Ji filed a claim against the company and the pair went into mediation with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The claim was passed on and the decision left to the authority.

So. ?Another mine not to trip when going into business with your spouse: ?ensure the employment contract is conditional on the relationship continuing.


– Taranaki Daily News