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Kombo Beach Hotel ordered to pay employee

Sep 26, 2011, 1:05 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Magistrate Clement Ngube, chairman of the Industrial Tribunal sitting at Kanifing, recently ordered Kombo Beach Hotel to pay to one Maimuna Ceesay, a plaintiff, the sum of D237,000 to cover her total salary for five years, and for damages.

The hotel was also ordered to pay the plaintiff interest on the above amount at the rate of 25 percent until the date of judgment and thereafter 4 percent up to the date of payment.

The chairman of the tribunal further ordered the defendant to issue to the plaintiff forthwith a certificate of service/employment in accordance with section 59 of the Labour Act.

Costs of D15,000 was also awarded to the plaintiff.

Magistrate Ngube was reading a judgment written by Magistrate Abeke in favour of the plaintiff.

Magistrate Ngube told the tribunal that the plaintiff commenced this action on the 27 March 2007.

He stated that upon leave of the court granted on the 11 December 2008, the particulars of claim were amended, and that the final claim became damages for unlawful termination, and interest at 25 percent per annum from 12 January 2007 to date of judgment and thereafter at 4 percent to date of payment.

He indicated that the plaintiff testified on her own behalf, and the defendant called one witness.

He added that at the conclusion of the case, for the defence, both counsel agreed to file written addresses.

He said the defendant filed on 4 February 2010, and the plaintiff file on 13 May 2010.

The chairman told the tribunal that from the evidence on record, and the written addresses of both counsel, it was common ground that the plaintiff was employed by, and worked with the defendant from 2003 to January 2007.

Still reading the judgment, the chairman said, in January 2007, the plaintiff had dental problems and was absent from work for four days, and that the defendant wrote a letter to the plaintiff requesting her to explain in writing why she was absent.

The plaintiff, rather than writing, went physically to the defendant’s hotel, accompanied by a gentleman who spoke on her behalf, that the nurse in the defendant’s clinic was the one who referred the plaintiff to see a dentist for better attention and that, on the 12 January 2007, the defendant issued a letter stating that the plaintiff had abandoned her position, and declared the position vacant.

The chairman of the tribunal stated in the judgment that the issues for determination are: whether on the basis of the facts and evidence on record, the defendant had notice of illness of the plaintiff, and whether the defendant complied with the Labour Act in terminating the appointment of the plaintiff.

It was the view of the tribunal that having physically seen the plaintiff on 5 January 2007, after she received a letter dated 4 January 2007 by the hotel, the defendant could not deny knowing the condition and illness of the plaintiff.

He added that this was even more so, since the plaintiff met with both the nurse and personnel manager of the defendant.

He further stated that the tribunal found as a fact, and so held, that the defendant was aware of the illness of the plaintiff when she visited their office on the 5th of January 2007.

The chairman also stated that the tribunal found and held that the defendant did not comply with the provisions of Section 83 (2) (b) of the Labour Act in terminating the appointment of the plaintiff.

He added that the termination of the employment of the plaintiff by the defendant was wrongful.