A New Plymouth oil and gas drilling company has been told it can not force workers to live in a nearby camp between shifts.
In March, MB Century discovered some workers were going home after shifts at an onshore drilling rig, rather than a designated camp, 35km outside the city.
The company reminded staff they had to live at the camp while rostered on or face dismissal, and created a new rule that they had a two hour window after work to get there.
It said the rule was to "ensure personnel are achieving a minimum of seven hours of sleep between shifts".
That proved the final straw for the union E Tū, which complained the rules breached the collective agreement, and were also "unlawful, unreasonable and against public policy".
A newly-released Employment Relations Authority decision has sided with E Tū.
It found the only relevant aspect of the collective agreement was "the employer may provide a camp for accommodation" and has ordered the company to abolish the rule.