New Zealand employee who refused face recognition punch fired from company sentenced to claim

An electrician in New Zealand who was fired by the company for refusing to use a facial scan clocking system has received more than NZ$23,000 (about 100,000 yuan) in compensation from his former employer, According to SkyNews. Fensom has reportedly been the chief electrician at KME Services in New Zealand since 2018. After he twice refused to use the facial scan clocking system, the company fired him for “gross misconduct.”

New Zealand employee who refused face recognition punch fired from company sentenced to claim

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He has now been awarded NZ$23,000 (about 100,000 yuan) in damages by the Employment Relations Bureau for wrongful dismissal, injury and humiliation.

In September 2018, KME sent a memo to employees that biometric data and facial scanning technology would replace paper check-in. The system, called Timecloud, “will deliver on KME’s commitment to worker health and safety.” The scanner will “help us track employees and subcontractors in emergency situations or site evacuations” at the construction site.

Since then, Fensom has sent an e-mail to managing director Lane saying he fully agrees with the need for precise timing, but is disappointed with the way changes are given and is unhappy with the use of biometric scans. He suggested that the swipe system was a less “aggressive” option.

Fensom was on vacation when the face recognition check-in system started. When he returned, he told his boss that he would not use a facial scanning system, but only signed it on paper.

That afternoon, his boss gave him a warning letter. The next morning, when Fensom again refused to use the facial recognition system, his boss immediately gave him a long-written dismissal letter. The letter said Fensom was fired for “gross misconduct.”

Fensom has since filed a complaint with the Employment Relations Agency.

In its December 20 investigation report, the Employment Relations Bureau said KME’s actions were not fair and reasonable. For the reason, Fensom did not have a chance to explain, and the reasons for his refusal to use the system were not really considered.

The Employment Relations Agency said KME did not hold a disciplinary meeting for Fensom and that he did not have the opportunity to receive advice and support, in violation of the contract signed by the two parties, and the warning letter and dismissal were unreasonable.

In addition, Fensom called the dismissal a humiliation.

KME has been ordered to pay $NZ11,286 in compensation to Fensom for the loss and to pay a moral loss fee of NZ$12,000 by 31 January 2020.

In addition, the Employment Relations Bureau said there were “significant problems” with the way KME introduced the new system.

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