Archibald decision another flagrant waste of money by Waikato DHB

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Waikato District Health Board’s poor treatment of an employee has been compounded by an unsuccessful and costly appeal, the PSA says.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says the DHB’s cavalier treatment of a respected employee has wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars - and should increase scrutiny of the DHB’s management.

67-year-old Kathleen Archibald had worked in the public health system for more than 50 years when she was told that because of a restructure she would have to commute from Thames to Hamilton every day for at least 6 months.

Mrs Archibald told the DHB the 200-kilometre-a-day commute left her "filled with dread" due to a health issue, but she was told to accept the change to her job or quit without a severance payment.

The Employment Relations Authority found Mrs Archibald had been unjustifiably dismissed and was entitled to a severance payment and compensation.

But despite this well-reasoned and robust determination, the DHB decided to appeal to the Employment Court, which rejected their argument and increased Ms Archibald’s compensation.

Judge Christina Inglis said Mrs Archibald experienced "a deep sense of hurt that she had not been listened to" and had her concerns "unceremoniously brushed to one side".

"The PSA is pleased Mrs Archibald has received a more substantial payout, but we question the DHB’s judgement in bringing this appeal," Mr Barclay says.

"The take-it-or-leave-it approach has no place in modern industrial relations and we are glad the Authority - and now the court - agrees.

"The DHB will now have to pay the PSA’s legal costs as well as its own.

"At a time when the Board faces criticism for its former CEO Nigel Murray’s out-of-control spending, we do not believe this is money well spent."