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Cold at work? You could get some compensation…

An administrator at Bunnings Warehouse who sat through the winter months at a desk in a warehouse that got down to 6C has been awarded compensation.

Kerry Burrows told the Employment Relations Authority that Bunnings had failed to provide a safe and healthy working environment for her. 

She was initially employed at Bunnings in Gisborne as an administrator in 2007 and worked at a desk in an office.

When her role changed to be more focused on goods inwards receiving department, Bunnings management approached Ms Burrows and told her her desk would be moved to the goods inwards receiving warehouse.

At the end of April, Ms Burrows complained about wind coming through the warehouse and said that she was cold sitting at her desk.

A door was frequently opened next to her desk and a roller door remained open six metres from her desk.

Only Ms Burrows sat in the warehouse for her working day while other staff were moving outside and within the main store. 

In July and August the temperatures recorded at her desk ranged from 6C to 14C.

Bunnings tried to fix the problem by giving her a small heater, offering her warm clothing and fixing a temporary wall to block the wind from her computer area.

Authority member Tania Tetitaha said Bunnings had not breached a duty of good faith to its employee.

However, Ms Burrows was entitled to compensation for Bunnings failing to address the hazardous cold temperatures she was working in, Ms Tetitaha said.

She awarded Ms Burrows $5000 in compensation.

Bunnings Gisborne said it did not wish to comment on the decision.

– NZ Herald

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