One of the men killed in the Pike River Coal mine should never have been dismissed the way he was from his previous job at a coal mine in Southland, says the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
In a decision only released on Wednesday because of delays caused by the mine disaster and then the Christchurch earthquake, the ERA has ruled Keith Valli, Chris Pinn and Ray Waghorn were unjustly dismissed by Solid Energy from its opencast mine at Ohai, northwest of Invercargill.
The men were made redundant when the mine lost two large contracts in 2007.
In Wednesday's decision the ERA says the way Solid Energy went about assessing and ranking who should go was wrong.
Nevertheless, at the time Mr Valli quickly got a job at the Pike River Coal mine near Greymouth, and would commute there each week from his home in Southland.
The 62-year-old was one of the 29 men killed in a series of explosions in November, 2010.
ERA member Mike Loftus ruled that although all three men were badly treated by Solid Energy, Mr Valli was not entitled to lost wages because he got the job straight away.
However, Mr Valli had spoken of the hurt and stress he and his wife suffered after being badly treated by a company for which he had worked for 28 years.
Mr Loftus ruled that Solid Energy pay the three men $10,000 each for compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.
Mr Pinn and Mr Waghorn were also awarded one month's lost wages and superannuation contributions.
Mr Valli's $10,000 will go to his next of kin.