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Christchurch painter gets $20k over abuse

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/03/2017

A Christchurch painter has been awarded more than $20,000 after being verbally abused by co-workers.

Marsha Whaiapu was "unjustifiably constructively dismissed" from P&W Painters Ltd in 2015, the Employment Relations Authority has found.

Ms Whaiapu was called a "black b***h" and "baby killer" by a co-worker, and asked to not work with him anymore, but her request wasn't taken seriously, the authority said.

In what ERA described as "tragic circumstances" she was sentenced to two years in prison for the manslaughter of her child in 2004.

Another former co-worker of hers told ERA the man was "abusive to everyone" and his behaviour towards Ms Whaiapu was "inappropriate".

"I often heard employees being incredibly racist towards Marsha, both to her face and behind her back."

When he expressed concern about the comments he was told to "accept it" as that was just the way those employees were.

The bullying caused Ms Whaiapu to resign in October 2015, she said, after starting in January.

The ERA ordered the company to pay Ms Whaiapu $12,000 in compensation and $9360 in lost wages and interest.

Legal costs have not yet been determined.

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