'Harden up': Tradie fired over sickie wins huge payout

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A sacked tradie who was told to “harden up” when he informed his boss he couldn’t work because of illness has been awarded a $20,000 (A$18,700) payout.

Jack Lane lost his job with AB Roofing in Palmerston North on New Zealand’s North Island in July 2017 after taking the day off on Anzac Day.

When he told his boss he was sick, the boss responded: “Harden up or no more job”.

The roofer enquired if that meant he was being sacked to which his employer added: "Don't bother turning up. Over you wasting my time.”

Jack Lane lost his job after calling in sick on Anzac Day in 2017. Source: Facebook

According to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), Mr Lane interpreted the message as a dismissal.

“Even if that was not the case he did not return to work and his absence was not queried by the employer as a possible subsequent abandonment argument would require and as it was bound to do in any event,” the ERA’s determination notes said.

When Mr Lane later asked about his unpaid wages, he was told, “u can f*** rite off mate (sic)”.

At an investigation meeting on October 1, an AB Roofing representative failed to show, with the ERA therefore determining the dismissal as unjustified.

According to Mr Lane, his sacking led to him falling into a “dark hole” and it had brought an end to the “first time things were going right for him”.

He ended up moving towns after he felt the only way forward was to start afresh.

The ERA awarded Mr Lane $12,000 in compensation, $3300 for wages lost as a result of the dismissal, $1216 for unpaid wages and $3522 for Mr Lane’s legal costs.

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