NATION

Appeal Dismissed, Ex-security Officers’ Termination Unlawful

The Employment Relations Court has upheld an Employment Relations Tribunal (ERT) decision that the termination of eight ex-security officers was unlawful. It dismissed a Natadola Bay Resort Limited appeal that
04 Feb 2017 11:00
Appeal Dismissed, Ex-security Officers’ Termination Unlawful
Damodaran Nair (right) explains the decision by the Employment Relation Court to the hotel workers (from left) to the ex-security officers and two of the wives. From left: Josateki Maibola, Kinisimere Waqabaca, Kiniviliame Namaumau, Isireli Tamanitokula and Atekini Sesenabara outside Court yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Employment Relations Court has upheld an Employment Relations Tribunal (ERT) decision that the termination of eight ex-security officers was unlawful.

It dismissed a Natadola Bay Resort Limited appeal that the tribunal erred in law by entering a judgment against the company (employer) without giving consideration to section 230 (2) of the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP).

The judge, Justice Anjala Wati, said the ground of appeal “appear to be lethargic and lifeless when it is repeated  so many times.”

“Counsel should exercise some vigilance in putting grounds which make sense and are not repetitive.

“The success of the appeal does not depend on quantity or number of grounds of appeal.”

She said the ERT was correct in finding that the process of redundancy had not been followed although what appeared was that there was redundancy.

Thirty days prior to the termination, the workers, their representatives and the Permanent Secretary were not provided any relevant information as required by law.

She said the employees were also not provided with an opportunity for consultation.

“In that regard the employer’s contention that the contract allowed redundancy without notice is contrary to law and not sustainable,” she said.

“The ERT was correct in finding that in a fixed term employment the redundancy cannot be carried out without complying with the spirit of the legislation. This applies to all contracts whether it be fixed term or otherwise.

“One cannot contract out of providing a statutory right which is less advantageous to the workers. On the question of redundancy, I find that the employer had no basis to carry out the termination on the grounds of redundancy nor did it follow proper procedure in doing so making the termination of the employees unlawful.”

Justice Wati upheld the remedies that the ERT had ordered to be paid to the employees. She reaffirmed the ERT order that all the employees must be paid the balance of their contract. She ordered the appellants to pay court cost of $2500.

Damodaran Nair, a fourth year law student at the University of Fiiji, represented the ex-security officers.

Ms Macedru represented Natadola Bay Resort.

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

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