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Repayment of $27k Ordered

After 11 months as a Truck Driver for LongChill Ltd in the Manawatū, Mr Hardaker resigned from his job. There were no issues and no personal grievances raised, and ordinarily that would be the end of the story.

Unfortunately, somehow the paperwork didn’t make it to payroll, and the company continued to pay him for a further eight months. In January 2020 when the mistake was discovered the company wrote to Hardaker apologising for the mistake and offering a repayment programme to reclaim the overpaid money. Hardaker didn’t reply. The company wrote again saying they would seek mediation or go to the Employment Relations Authority if they couldn’t reach agreement on the repayment. Again, there was no reply. The letters were sent by courier and records showed Hardaker had received them.

Consequently, the company made an application to the Authority. Hardaker did not attend the case management teleconference, although did send one email to the Authority stating he was dissatisfied with LongChill as an employer. He didn’t address the issue of the overpayment. Hardaker didn’t attend the Authority hearing either.

Having reviewed the company’s paperwork, the Authority Member concluded the overpayment was a genuine administrative error and the company had been reasonable in trying to have the money repaid. Hardaker, in his absence, was ordered to repay the company the $27,000 overpayment and was given one month to do so.

The lesson from this case:

  • Ensure you have sound administrative systems for when an employee leaves the organisation
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