Employer's cooperation with Inspectorate was 'grudging and partial'

A company's been fined for failing to keep accurate employment records

Employer's cooperation with Inspectorate was 'grudging and partial'

Rotorua company Vishnu Hospitality Limited has been ordered to pay $10,000 for failing to keep accurate employment records, and then provide those records when requested.

The company, which trades as Lovely India restaurant, is liable for the failure to meet minimum employment standards.

Moreover, the company director Nilin Patel’s cooperation with the Inspectorate’s inquiry was ‘grudging and partial’, according to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

Labour Inspectorate National Manager Stu Lumsden added that Patel was not able to provide employment records within the time set by legislation, which “caused a hindrance” to the Labour Inspector’s investigation.

“Furthermore, Mr Patel put the onus of recording holiday and leave records for staff on a manager, and we later found that those records did not exist,” said Lumsden.

“The responsibility to ensure accurate employment records are kept lies solely with the employer, and where these aren’t provided in a timely manner, the Inspectorate will seek penalties though the ERA.”

The owner entered into mediation through Employment Mediation Services with the aim to discuss and agree on what arrears were owed to staff, in the absence of legally required physical records.

It was found that Patel then independently arranged settlements of wage arrears with his employees. The ERA saw this as a ‘less costly option’ for Patel, and that he had showed ‘no real remorse’ demonstrated for breaching his employees’ minimum employment rights.

“The ERA took these factors, and Mr Patel’s treatment of the investigation into account when handing down penalties. His lengthy non-compliance meant the investigation spanned over 12 months,” said Lumsden.

He added that if employers are found to breach their employees’ minimum rights, it is expected they will co-operate and comply with investigations, “and where this isn’t being done, they can expect to face further penalties and costs in the ERA”.

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