There was a case reported in the press recently (April 2019) involving the Chow Brothers, who own the Stonewood Group commercial property company, having to pay out $67,077 to a former employee after the company sacked her for ‘irreconcilable differences’ that it could not prove.
It’s a long story with a lot of information and background so we won’t detail it here, but you can read the full news article here
In summary, the onus is on the employer to prove that the relationship was so broken that it was impossible to continue. As an employer it’s also up to you to prove that the employee was responsible for the breakdown (something that the Chow Brothers were unable to do).
Simply not getting along is not enough to justify a dismissal for incompatibility!
The employer really must investigate the matter fully before any decisions are made – this means discussing the problem and possible solutions with the employee before taking drastic action.
This case is rare and unusual – but don’t get caught out. If you need help with a situation relating to an employee’s perceived performance, give Tarryn a call on 027 530 1255.
Tarryn has worked in HR for over 14 years and loves to solve problems. She is a self professed employment relations junkie! She lives in Auckland with her dedicated husband, tireless toddler and three special needs cats.