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Compensation: Former Grand Pacific Hotel Employee Wins Unfair Dismissal Case

A former employee of the Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) was awarded 21 months wages as a result of employment grievance and compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to
02 Nov 2017 13:30
Compensation: Former Grand Pacific Hotel  Employee Wins Unfair Dismissal Case

A former employee of the Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) was awarded 21 months wages as a result of employment grievance and compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to her feelings that she suffered while employed by the hotel.

Makereta Mafili was terminated on February 20, 2015 after the hotel claimed that she had walked out of her job on February 16, 2015 and did not return to work thereafter.

In a letter from the hotel to Ms Mafili dated February 26, 2015 they informed her that her employment contract was self-terminated.

Ms Mafili filed a case before the Employment Relations Tribunal claiming that she was unfairly dismissed.

In its analysis, Chief Tribunal Sainivalati Kuruduadua said the tribunal had determined that Ms Mafili had successfully made out a case of unjustified and unfair termination in that she was terminated on an unfounded allegation and that she was humiliated around fellow hotel staff members and guests.

The tribunal said the termination letter issued to Ms Mafili was about the events of February 16, 2015 in the Victoria Lounge when she was called by the then and now former general manager.

Before they entered the lounge the general manager began feeling her pockets demanding  her to give him her phone.

Ms Mafili felt exploited at that point.

“What would an innocent bystander think? It comes down to values and morals and that is unfortunately what we are dealing with here,” Mr Kuruduadua said.

In her evidence, Ms Mafili stated that the general manager told her that he had gone to the Immigration Department to find out who had complained about him however they did not give him any names.

The general manager accused Ms Mafili for reporting him to the Immigration Department and told her that he would demote her to the position of public area attendant.

Ms Mafili questioned the general manager as to why he wanted to demote her to which he angrily replied, “You listen to me you bloody Fijian. I will make sure that you struggle everyday, I will make you suffer, make life more harder for you, and watch your every move.”

The general manager continued: “You bloody Fijian f… you, you are terminated. Go home.”

Ms Mafili said that as she walked out of the lounge she felt bullied because at the same time the general manager and the manager of the human resources department were laughing all the way down to the lobby while repeating: “You are terminated.”

When Ms Mafili threatened to expose him to the media and Government about what he was doing to the hotel staff, he responded by saying: “I am not scared. Nobody can remove me, I am a strong man, and I am not scared of anyone including the Prime Minister and Mr. Konrote (the then Minister for Labour).”

The Employment Tribunal also ordered that Ms Mafili be reinstated to her former position or to a position no less advantageous to her.

The tribunal passed its decision on the matter on October 13 this year.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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