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Employers pay out $1.2 million for unfair dismissals

by Barbados Today
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Employees in Barbados were awarded more than $1.2 million in compensation for unfair dismissals by their bosses in cases adjudicated by the Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT) over a six-year period.

That is contained in the recently released 230-page Barbados Employment Rights Tribunal Reports for 2015-2021, published by the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean Project (IMPACT Justice) with the blessing of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and The Third Sector.

Of the 27 selected cases decided by, and on appeal from the ERT, 21 were ruled as unfair dismissals with at least one award in excess of $106 000 being whittled down to just over $31 000 by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on appeal by the employers, Chefette Restaurants Limited.

The report revealed that in all of the successful claims for the workers, the employers had failed to follow the procedures and processes required by the Employment Rights Act when dismissing staff, either for various breaches or redundancies.

In fact, the document disclosed that in a number of cases, businesses had solid grounds on which to terminate the services of their workers, but their decisions were deemed unfair because they had breached at least one procedure under the Act.

However, some employers were able to reap success in at least five claims brought against them by their former staff members.

Included in that were rulings which deemed a former electrical technician of the Barbados Light and Power Company to have abandoned his job, a judgment which declared that an ex-general manager of Nasco Finance Limited was not dismissed but instead had resigned, and one case where the ERT said it did not have jurisdiction to hear a contractual dispute because it had predated the establishment of the tribunal.

In the introduction to the report, former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, who reviewed the cases, said: “The advantage of these reports is that employers, employees, and their legal advisers will, in future – and hopefully, in subsequent volumes –, be able to resort to this first volume of cases decided by the ERT to ascertain whether a precedent exists that may guide them in determining how to proceed in a particular situation.”

(EJ)

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