2 Jul 2012

Fired carpenter awarded $13,000 compensation

3:10 pm on 2 July 2012

A Christchurch worker has been awarded $13,760 in compensation, after he was fired for smoking marijuana on an earthquake-damaged building.

Matthew O'Connell was working for Consortium Construction Ltd as a carpenter in December 2010 when a supervisor smelt marijuana and claimed it was coming from Mr O'Connell, who was smoking a cigarette.

Mr O'Connell denied using marijuana at work, but was later fired.

The Employment Relations Authority found that Mr O'Connell was unjustifiably dismissed, as he was not been given details of the allegation or the opportunity to respond.

It awarded him $6760 in lost wages and $6000 in compensation.

The authority said both parties were responsible. It said Mr O'Connell had taken marijuana to work, incorporated it carelessly into cigarette and smoked it briefly while working in high-risk circumstances.