NEWS

Worker Gets $29,284.80 For Being Unfairly Dismissed

A worker has been awarded $29,284.80 as compensation for being unjustifiably and unfairly dismissed. Parvinesh Kumar, former Director Finance of Nanuku Auberge Resort, had taken his grievance to the Employment Relation
13 Feb 2017 13:23
Worker Gets $29,284.80  For Being Unfairly Dismissed
Damodaran Nair

A worker has been awarded $29,284.80 as compensation for being unjustifiably and unfairly dismissed.

Parvinesh Kumar, former Director Finance of Nanuku Auberge Resort, had taken his grievance to the Employment Relation Tribunal.

His employment was terminated on May 25, 2016, while he was on a period of inpatient sick leave between May 3 – 30,  2016.

The reason provided to him in the termination letter was “that (his) services will no longer be required by the company.”

The employer through its legal representatives submitted that the termination was one that was provided for within the terms of his contract between the parties, that allowed for the giving of four weeks’ notice, or the payment in lieu thereof.

Magistrate Andrew See of the tribunal said he could not appreciate why it was that the employer had thought it should summarily terminate the worker.

He said: “The Statement of Reasons issued by the employer within its termination letter were defective, insofar as they did not reveal the true state of affairs. The position of the worker following his termination was readvertised.

“If his performance was an issue, that should have been cited as the reason that it was claimed to have justified the dismissal.

“If the reason was because of the extended period of absence, again that issue should have been flagged.

“While it is noted that the Employer’s Preliminary Submission filed on 14 September 2016, cites the case of Valentine v Shell Fiji Limited, where is stated that ‘Fiji does not have legislative provisions protecting employees from arbitrary or unjustified dismissal’, that view has been overshadowed and rendered historical, by virtue of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007.

“It is a matter of public record that this law was 10 years in the making and as a result of extensive and intensive dialogue among the social partners, including the ILO, NGOs, various national and international agencies and the general public.

“The employer has neither provided an honest justification for the termination of the worker so as to comply with Section 114 of the Promulgation, nor in my view been fair in its treatment of him giving rise to his termination.

“On either count, there been a breach of obligation as envisaged within the legislative framework that is the Employment Relations Promulgation.

“For the above reasons and having regard to the above considerations, the tribunal finds that the worker has been unjustifiably and unfairly dismissed.”

Mr See has given the company 21 days to pay the compensation and said the applicant was free to make application to this tribunal for costs within 21 days.

Damodaran Nair represented the worker.

N Choo and M D Sharma of R Patel Lawyers represented the employer.


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