An Auckland accountant has been awarded compensation after being sacked for sending confrontational emails containing words in red, in bold and in capital letters.
Vicki Walker, who was a financial controller with ProCare Health, was awarded $12,000 for unfair dismissal, and plans to lodge an appeal for further compensation, demanding greater protection for workers from ‘the financial, emotional and mental stresses involved in a dispute with a big corporate employer’.
The NZ Employment Relations Authority found that she had been unfairly dismissed after sending the emails. Her ex-employers told the ERA that Walker ‘had caused disharmony in the workplace by using block capitals, bold typeface and red text in her emails’, adding that she had also demanded to see the alleged complaints against her from her co-workers.
An email produced in evidence contained bold red text and a sentence written in capitals and highlighted in bold blue. It reads: “To ensure your staff claim is processed and paid, please do follow the below checklist.”
Luckily, Walker was not also charged with grammar and syntax violations.
“I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money from my sister to make it through,” she said. “They nearly ruined my life. To say that is confrontational is ridiculous. I have spent thousands defending myself and there are so many issues that are unresolved that I want to take them up on.”