Harvey Norman opened its first store in Auckland in July this year, but by the end of August the computer store proprietor, Richard Cashmore, was sacked. Cashmore said he was unhappy about his dismissal and headed off to the New Zealand employment tribunal. "It's the most appalling injustice I have ever seen," he said.
And while Cashmore would not comment on talk of fisticuffs immediately following his dismissal, he has responded strongly to statements made by Australian-based Harvey Norman computer store controller Tony Gattari.
Gattari said Cashmore's objectives were different to Harvey Norman's and this was what led to the parting of the ways in August. But Cashmore says it is incredible that Gattari could say this.
"There was no dispute. In fact the reasons for my dismissal have not been explained by Harvey Norman at all." Which is why, he says, he has submitted a claim of unjustified dismissal.
Cashmore says he was phoned from Australia and dismissed, yet he felt he was doing a great job. "We were the number one department of the four at Wairau Park, so there couldn't have been anything in terms of performance," he says.
Furthermore, Cashmore says the first management report, which is due in a couple of weeks, would have shown how his store was going compared to other stores. Gattari was reluctant to comment further, saying there were a number of issues to be resolved.
He confirmed that there was a scuffle immediately following the dismissal and in the heat of the moment, but says that's all been sorted out now. Cashmore would not comment on the altercation or any further on his dismissal. He says as far as he's concerned it's now over to the employment tribunal.
Meanwhile Dean Curlew and Craig Mather have been appointed as the new proprietors of the Wairau Park store.
Both have previously worked at Harvey Norman in Australia. Harvey Norman is to open a third New Zealand store at a Mt Wellington site early next year.
Richard Wood is editor of New Zealand Reseller News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org