Boss tells worker: Show me proof grandma died

A NEW ZEALAND plasterer fired after his boss told him to return to work or to "show proof" his partner's grandmother was dying, has been awarded almost $25,000 in compensation.

In a series of text message exchanges, Ben Harley, boss at Harley Interior Plasterers, told his employee Frank Furze: "Show me proof grandma died."

In a decision released by the Employment Relations Authorities, Mr Furze was awarded a total of $24,578 in compensation, which included $10,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to his feelings.

The gib-fixer had been working at Harley Interior Plasterers from September 2014. On November 22 he found out his then-partner's grandmother was seriously ill and expected to pass away.

Mr Furze was expected to work that day, but sent a text message to his boss, Mr Harley, saying he needed to stay home and look after his partner's school-aged children while she and her father visited her grandmother, who subsequently died.

In a string of messages exchanged between the pair two days later, Mr Harley wrote: "I'm over people taking days off. I'm sick of it Frank."

Mr Furze responded: "Bro I can't help missus gran dieing [sic] f****n hell what would you do she need supporting." His former employer then messaged, demanding proof his partner's grandmother had passed away.

"Its not a family member. And u need to supply evidence regarding the death. And more notice.

"For example. I didn't hear bout [sic] the death or u going to a funeral? So to me this is a lie and u need to prove it."

Mr Harley told the gib-fixer he had abandoned his job as he hadn't turned up for work.. He was later fired.

The authority found Mr Furze was unjustifiably dismissed.

"Mr Harley automatically suspected that Mr Furze was lying and expected proof of the death.

"Mr Harley imposed a condition upon Mr Furze which he was not reasonably able to comply with. The condition was, turn up for work despite your partner needing support from you, or be treated as having quit," the decision stated.

It also said an employee did not "abandon his or her employment when they are in contact with the employer, explaining why they are absent, as Mr Furze did".

During the text exchange, Mr Furze also asked his former boss to pay him the 35.5 hours he worked the week before he was fired.

Mr Harley told him to return his work shirt or he wouldn't be paid.

- NZ Herald

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