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Mother Ordered to Pay Almost $6,000 for Sacking a Casual Nanny

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Employment relations between casual nannies and the parents they work for have been highlighted after a nanny who was fired from her job was awarded almost $6000 for unfair dismissal by the Employment Relations Authority.

Kate Fisher worked as a nanny for Wanaka mother Carrie O’Brien as a casual nanny employed on "when required". She was fired from her position in June 2011 after Ms O’Brien’s five children claimed she swore in front of them and drove too fast.

Ms Fisher denied the swearing when questioned but after another incident in June 2011 while Ms O’Brien was out to dinner which resulted in one of the children and Ms Fisher both telephoning her to complain about something Ms O’Brien decided to terminate their agreement.

She argued that because it was a casual arrangement she could end the employment agreement immediately, however Employment Relations Authority member Michael Loftus who ruled on the case said that Ms Fisher had an on-going employment relationship with Ms O’Brien which meant that Ms O’Brien was required to justify her decision to terminate the employment. He concluded that Ms Fisher was unfairly dismissed because Ms O’Brien did not discuss the issues with her and did not attempt to explain her dismissal.

Ms Fisher was awarded $1779 in lost wages and $4000 as compensation for her hurt feelings and humiliation.

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