Bills are piling up for struggling young employer hit with yet another order, this time court costs

Workers’ lawyer Alex Kersjes says unpaid awards are subject to enforcement, which can be a lengthy and costly process. Photo / Provided

A small business owner ordered to pay $22,000 to one of the many workers she laid off has been hit with another big bill, this time for legal costs.

Katherine Courtenay-Roe is now facing compensation, penalty and costs orders totaling more than $95,000 for issues related to her actions as an employer.

But the 30-year-old Hamilton businesswoman told Open Justice she was close to breaking point as her push to get into business, mainly to employ young women, crumbled around ‘she.

In August, she took to TikTok saying she wouldn’t pay a penny of compensation awarded to a fired worker, and has now been ordered to pay $4,645 for the ex-employee’s legal fees.

Courtenay-Roe again told the Labor Relations Authority that she had no money and would not pay.

Authority ruled in early August that Courtenay-Roe-owned company Simply Girls Painters and Decorators Ltd owed compensation and back pay to former worker Ronique Rosser after she filed a personal grievance for dismissal unjustified.

Rosser was fired from her job in Hamilton as a scrubber two months after starting in small business in November 2020, following a confrontation with Courtenay-Roe over the employment contract.

She was now also on a list of people fired from the company in recent times.

The bills are piling up for the boss of a painting and decorating company who has laid off a host of workers.  Photo / 123rf
The bills are piling up for the boss of a painting and decorating company who has laid off a host of workers. Photo / 123rf

Four workers employed between May 2020 and May 2021 filed joint wrongful dismissal and disadvantage grievances this year, three of which were also recently successful against the company.

They received a combined compensation of $40,000, unpaid wages, lost wages and unpaid holidays.

Simply Girls Painters was also ordered to pay several thousand dollars in fines and $8,000 in additional costs.

This followed a ruling a month earlier in which another worker, Tyla Roberts, also proved she was wrongfully terminated by Courtney-Roe and was awarded $12,000 in compensation.

She also received costs this month of $2,250.

The submissions filed on Rosser’s behalf requested a contribution to costs.

Courtenay-Roe emailed the authority on Aug. 25 saying Simply Girls had no money to pay out rewards, but no supporting information was provided, Marija Urlich said , an ERA member, in the recently released cost decision regarding Rosser.

Courtenay-Roe had said on video after the Rosser decision was released that although the employee won, another reason she would “never get any money from me” was that the company in question was waiting to be voluntarily liquidated. .

A search of the New Zealand Companies Office website showed Courtenay-Roe was still a director and shareholder of Simply Girls Painters and Decorators, which filed an annual return in April this year.

She previously told Open Justice that she was like many small businesses in that they were “not made of money” and that she was going to have to file for liquidation and personal bankruptcy and benefit from ‘an advantage.

Courtenay-Roe said today that she is now weighing her options on what to do, but based on her past experience as an employee who was successful in a claim against an employer, but did not never received the award, she planned to sit and wait.

“I won a case in the past and never received any money from them.”

She said her decision to go independent was due to her experiences in retail, but she was quickly becoming disillusioned.

The small business owner has racked up bills after workers she fired proved the layoffs were unfair.  Photo / 123rf
The small business owner has racked up bills after workers she fired proved the layoffs were unfair. Photo / 123rf

“I feel like there’s not a lot of help and support for employers. If you go out of your way to do things, people always benefit. No one is ever grateful.

“People are human – people make mistakes and I also have challenges which made it harder.”

Courtenay-Roe said that while she received support from business advisers, she had a learning disability that made it difficult for her to resolve conflicts when they arose.

Rosser’s attorney, Alex Kersjes, said any unpaid rewards would be subject to execution.

“In this situation, the employer has made it clear that they will not pay and the execution will begin.”

Kersjes said it appeared the employer had started a new company undertaking the same work as before.

Courtenay-Roe confirmed that was correct.

Companies Office records showed she was a ceased director and former shareholder of two companies, but a current director and shareholder of a number of other companies set up this year.

She told Open Justice she enjoys the interior design industry because it’s “self-rewarding,” and while she’d like to go it alone or employ more skilled people, she doesn’t have one. the means.

Kersjes, who founded labor advocacy firm Sacked Kiwi, said the ERA was required to award reasonable fees to ensure access to justice.

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