When the Employment Rights Tribunal meets again under the chairmanship of attorney-at-law Omari Drakes and fellow panellists Frederick Forde and Dr Hartley Richards, dismissed Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) employee Valerie Payne could be smiling all the way to the bank with a hefty compensation package.
The tribunal Friday dismissed the arguments presented for Payne’s dismissal and concluded she was fired over a clash of personalities at the board.
The hearing, which began in April last year, was adjourned after an hour Friday and Drakes advised the parties the panel would get back to them with a date for further arguments on the remedies that should be applied.
Payne had contended she was unfairly dismissed in 2013 as the BVTA’s fixed-term contracted public relations and marketing officer.
But the statutory board had argued she was fairly terminated because she had lied about her qualification, claiming to possess a degree in political science and history, when she was the holder of only a certificate in public relations and marketing.
It had said it was because of “this dishonesty” and her conduct, along with several other grounds that Payne was fired.
At the beginning of Friday’s hearing Drakes referred to the Employment Rights Act, saying it showed that where an employee was unfairly dismissed the worker could be re-instated, re-engaged or be financially compensated.
The board’s case suffered a setback at the sitting with the unavailability of two key witnesses and the admission by its attorney Vincent Watson that he had no other witness to offer.
BVTB Director Henderson Thompson had admitted last August that the state agency had erred in its handling of Payne’s termination.
Under relentless grilling by Payne’s legal counsel Tricia Watson, Thompson had admitted that both he and the BVTB had failed to follow the relevant mandatory procedures set out in the Employment Rights Act before informing Payne by letter that the statutory board would not renew her fixed date contract.
He had further conceded that he had ignored those procedures which must be adhered to before the services of an employee could be terminated and Payne was sacked because of her “confrontational, arrogant and aggressive attitude towards other employees and management”.