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Truckie hired and fired by text after two weeks gets $6500 in compensation

A truck driver who was hired and fired over text, after only working for two weeks, has been awarded more than $6500 by the Employment Relations Authority.

A truck driver (file). Source: istock.com

It found Perry Morris had been unjustifiably dismissed and discriminated against on the basis of age by Sharda Transport Limited, owned by Karan Sharda.

Mr Sharda first cancelled the job interview on February 24 last year, then told Mr Morris to turn up for work the next day and told him he'd get $19 an hour.

A week later, Mr Morris checked in about getting an employment agreement but never got one from Mr Sharda.

He continued to work and undertook a drug test and dangerous goods course, as required for the job.

On March 8, Mr Sharda texted him that he'd been in an accident and was in hospital, telling Mr Morris he'd call him shortly - but never did.

Six days later, Mr Morris texted his boss back asking, "I'm guessing from the lack of communication there's no job."

The next day, Mr Sharda texted back saying "9am work" before quickly clarifying it was the wrong message.

"Due to work and personal matters with truck being off road and will be looking for a fit young person all the best[sic]," Mr Sharda wrote.

"I’m very sorry could not offer you a job no hard feelings mate my apologies and I wish you all the best thanks.[sic]"

The Employment Relations Authority found Mr Morris was unjustifiably dismissed and not given the chance to work out a notice period or pay in lieu of notice.

He was also unlawfully discriminated against because of his age, member Nicola Craig says - which is protected under the Human Rights Act.

"The text message from Mr Shards provides proof that he was dismissing Mr Morris because of his age," she says in her report.

Mr Morris was awarded $5000 in compensation and another $1520 for the unpaid notice period, as well as the $71.56 filing fee.

"He found it humiliating to have it suggested that at his age he was not up to doing the work," Ms Craig says.

"He felt that Mr Sharda was messing him around and offering excuses which did not always seem genuine."

After moving to another company, Mr Morris has been able to do the same job in the last year, Ms Craig says.

Mr Sharda didn't attend the investigation meeting last week, after initially being allowed to attend by phone or Skype as his Chinese exchange student was in quarantine from coronavirus Covid-19.