Daily Archives: September 29, 2014

ODT on ERA hearing of claim and counter-claim | Lund South release

Updated post 6.10.14 at 7:55 p.m.

The long-running employment dispute between the owner of Dunedin construction company Lund South and its former Dunedin manager David Low returns to court in February 2015.

Last week the local newspaper offered stray comment which attracted a strong press response from Lund South. There is further news coverage today.

The full press release features below.

How it began:

### ODT Online Wed, 24 Sep 2014
Former Lund manager wins in court
By Simon Hartley
The former Dunedin manager of construction company Lund South has won the latest in a string of long-running court battles over non-payment of bonuses; covering two years of his almost nine-year employment with the company. […] At stake was understood to be around $500,000 in bonuses and legal costs of at least tens of thousands of dollars.
Read more

The news item is notable for a lack of balance.

█ Lawyers advise this is the extent of comments that can be made:

Lund South logoLund South - Press release 25.9.14

[ends]

What appears today:

ODT Online Mon, 29 Sep 2014
Bonus dispute set to continue
By Simon Hartley
[…] In response to an ODT article last week about an Employment Court finding this month, [Russell] Lund said in a statement that despite earlier court findings the “substantive issues” of the case were yet to be heard in court. A substantive hearing would be held in February, when the Employment Relations Authority would consider Mr Low’s claim and Lund South’s “substantial counterclaim” against him, he said.
Read more

It is extraordinary, in the context, Mr Low concedes at hearing that ‘during the disputed period he was not functioning at his full potential’ and confirms he has been ‘a disloyal employee to Lund South and commented negatively about the business to others inside and outside the business’.

Also at hearing, Mr Low says Mr Lund is ‘entitled to draw unfavourable comparisons’ between his performance and that of Lund South’s then Queenstown manager.

Other employees at Lund South may care to comment.

We can only wonder…..
It’s interesting that the judge has sealed evidence from the hearing. Assume from this the likelihood of forthright revelations and exposure of Mr Low’s situation in court next year. To that encounter ODT may deign to send an experienced court reporter able to grasp finer points.

David Low’s own advisers have commented that the majority of Mr Low’s claim is destined to fail and have urged mediation and compromise.

Lund South Ltd v Low [2014] NZEmpC 173 [Judgment of Judge B A Corkill, 18 September 2014] (PDF, 152KB)

CONTRACT – Defendant informed of proposed changes to role in September 2008 – Proposed changes purportedly included cessation of defendant’s bonus entitlements – Changes not properly formalised in individual employment agreement until September 2010 – Defendant resigned with effect from June 2012 – Preliminary question as to whether defendant’s bonus entitlement ceased from October 2008 or continued until September 2010 – No agreement that defendant had agreed to stand down from role in late 2008 – Bonus continued until September 2010 when defendant was formally offered new position.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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