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Our system was hacked: Security boss's excuse for not paying employee

Author
Shannon Pitman,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Apr 2024, 4:22pm
The security firm offers services in the Franklin district. Photo / 123rf
The security firm offers services in the Franklin district. Photo / 123rf

Our system was hacked: Security boss's excuse for not paying employee

Author
Shannon Pitman,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Apr 2024, 4:22pm

A woman chasing payment for working 128 hours, including two public holidays, was told there was a system hack before her employer ceased all communication, leaving her unpaid and without any explanation as to why.

Shabeena Mansoori was employed by Red Guard Security Services Ltd as a night security guard and performed work at the Bruce Pulman Park in Takanini for three months in 2023.

The issues with the company’s sole director, Harpreet Singh, began almost immediately when he failed to provide her with a written employment agreement for the verbal full-time work agreement in which he said she would be paid fortnightly.

From 1 March to 30 May, Mansoori worked 128 hours including two public holidays for the company, but was not paid once.

She told the Employment Relations Authority when she questioned that Singh he told her “his system got hacked and he was unable to access his accounts”, an excuse he used until her employment ended on 30 May 2023.

Another excuse used by Singh was that the business had not been paid from Bruce Pulman Park but when Mansoori checked with their accounts department, they told her the invoices with Red Guard Security were up to date.

When Mansoori continued to call or message Singh, he stopped responding and Mansoori told the ERA she did not want to make Singh angry or make it easier for him not to pay her.

After a phone call from the Labour Standards Office, Singh promised to pay Mansoori but eventually stopped responding to their emails or calls.

Mansoori sought resolution through a mediation service, which Singh disregarded. Subsequently, when the employment authority intervened, Singh continued to exhibit non-compliance.

Despite multiple opportunities for engagement, including a case review meeting, two scheduled mediations, and an investigation hearing, Singh consistently chose to ignore them.

Singh’s disregard for legal mandates, exemplified by his absence in crucial proceedings, meant the investigation concluded in his absence and found him in breach of multiple employment standards.

The breaches were failure to provide a written employment agreement, failure to keep wage and time records, failure to keep a record of holiday pay and public holiday entitlements and a breach of being paid less than minimum wage, because she was not paid at all.

“The respondent has had the use of Mrs Mansoori’s money which has caused her considerable stress and financial embarrassment,” authority member Rachel Larner said in a recently released decision.

“Mr Singh knowingly aided, abetted and directly caused all of the breaches of employment standards that the respondent engaged in because he had complete control over the respondent’s actions as Mrs Mansoori’s employer.”

The ERA ordered Red Guard Security to pay Mansoori $9389 with interest until paid in full. A direction was also made if the company did not pay, Singh must personally pay.

Phone calls to Singh by NZME went unanswered.

Shannon Pitman is a Whangārei based reporter for Open Justice covering courts in the Te Tai Tokerau region. She is of Ngāpuhi/ Ngāti Pūkenga descent and has worked in digital media for the past five years. She joined NZME in 2023.

This article was originally posted on the NZ Herald here.

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