The Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT) on Friday dismissed a former employee’s 12-year-long contractual dispute with her firm because the dispute happened before the ERT’s creation.
Arletta Onita Oxley complained to the Labour Department back in 2016 that BCQS International, a professional property and development consultancy had not honoured her February 9, 2009 contract of employment, the tribunal heard.
When the Chief Labour Officer referred the dispute to the ERT in 2016, it was three years after the tribunal came into force.
But ERT chair, retired Appeals Court Justice Christopher Blackman, said the tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider a dispute which predates the creation of the body.
“The dispute referred to the Tribunal on October 24, 2016, by the Chief Labour Officer is therefore dismissed,” Blackman ruled.
He said that at the case management conference three months ago, certain directions were given for the parties to file submissions in support of their respective positions.
Blackman said the ERT carefully considered the submissions especially those of Oxley.
In seeking to put the dispute into perspective, the chairman noted that the former BCQS employee’s contract was dated February 9, 2009; the Employment Rights Act was enacted on May 18, 2012; it came into force on April 15, 2013; the complaint was made to the Labour Department in March 2016 and referred to the Tribunal in October 2016.
He said that given the aforementioned considerations and chronology, “it is clear that the Tribunal which only became effective 2013, could not be the proper body to determine a dispute that arose in 2009”.
The dispute between Oxley and her ex-employer was over concerns by her that there were changes in respect of her employment contract, specifically her pay.
“The particular complaint was that the BCQS had failed to pay at any time the $4,000.00 net salary specifically stipulated in the employment contract dated February 9, 2009,” Blackman said.
The three-member tribunal which deliberated the case included Edward Bushell and Frederick Forde.
Attorney at law Philip McWatt represented Oxley, while Faye Finisterre, appeared for the company.