Guy Hallwright job decision: his future undecided

UPDATED: Hallwright yet to decide if he will appeal the employment watchdog's decision.

Update 12pm: Guy Hallwright hasn’t decided whether he will appeal the ERA’s decision against his reinstatement at Forsyth Barr.

He found out yesterday he would not get his job back as a senior analyst at the firm.

The ERA decided Forsyth Barr was justified in dismissing Hallwright from the firm last year after he was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard following a motoring incident in 2010.

The incident left a man with two broken legs after Hallwright hit him with his car

ERA member Rosemary Monaghan decided the firm’s conclusion the conviction compromised Hallwright’s ability to carry out the job was one a fair and reasonable employer could have reached.

Hallwright told NBR ONLINE today he disagreed with the decision.

But says he does not know whether he wanted to fight it further, by appealing to the Employment Court.

He wants to review Ms Monaghan's determination in detail with his lawyer, Kathryn Beck, first.


Tuesday 5:50pm Convicted road-rager Guy Hallwright has lost his fight to get his job back as a senior analyst at Forsyth Barr.

Hallwright, dismissed following a highly-publicised criminal conviction, wanted his job back or $600,000 in lost earnings.

Employment Relations Authority (ERA) member Rosemary Monaghan has found Forsyth Barr did not wrongfully dismiss Hallwright after he was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard on June 29 2012 and sentenced to 250 hours’ community work.

The conviction relates to a motoring incident  in September 2010, which left Korean man Sung Hin Kim with two broken legs after Hallwright hit him with his car.

Although it did not occur in the course of Hallwright’s employment, the incident and trial received significant media attention which Forsyth Barr successfuly argued brought the firm into disrepute.

Hallwright carried on working for Forsyth Barr immediately after the incident, because Forsyth Barr managing director Neil Paviour-Smith agreed to postpone a decision on Hallwright’s ongoing employment with the firm until his sentencing on August 30.

In defending the firm's decision to dismiss Hallwright, Forsyth Barr managing director Neil Paviour Smith said Hallwright's name and that of Forsyth Barr had been inextricably linked.

Although he believed Hallwright’s technical ability to undertake financial analysis or transactions with institutional clients was not compromised by the conviction, his media profile and participation in public presentations and report-writing on behalf of the firm was.

Hallwright argued the incident was not work related and did not affect his duties analysing listed companies. Read Hallwright’s argument to the ERA and complaint about the way Forsyth Barr delivered the news of his dismissal  here.

Ms Monaghan had to weigh up whether Forsyth Barr’s decision to dismiss Hallwright was what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances at the time the dismissal occurred.

Forsyth Barr acknowledged to the ERA it could not prove an actual loss of business following Hallwright's trial and conviction, but she accepted the firm’s evidence of almost constant linking in the media of Hallwright and Forsyth Barr as his employer.

Ms Monaghan found Mr Paviour-Smith’s conclusions were those a fair and reasonable employer could reach.

“I accept that Mr Hallwright was able to continue carrying out duties related to the financial and strategic analysis of listed companies in the industries he covered, and to the expected standard,” Ms Monaghan says.

“However these duties were carried out at a senior level in circumstances where his own reputation, integrity and behaviour were relevant to overall perceptions fo the way Forsyth Barr conducted its business.

“The conduct of which he was guilty discredited him personally and tainted his position overall.

“Accordingly, the conclusion that it compromised his ability to carry out his duties was one a fair and reasonable employer could have reached."

Ms Monaghan pointed out Forsyth Barr had made a “minor” breach in not warning Hallwright he could be dismissed in the event of a conviction.

gbond@nbr.co.nz

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