Jul 14, 2008, 9:29 AM
Alice Secka, acting Human Resources Manager at Ocean Bay Hotel, recently testified at the Industrial Tribunal, as a defence witness against a former hotel employee, Mama Cham Deen, the plaintiff.
Testifying before the tribunal, Secka told the court that she is the acting human resource manager of the hotel, and that she knew the plaintiff who was claiming for wrongful termination of her services by the hotel.
According to Ms Secka, on 22 June 2011, the acting executive chef of the hotel, Kumba Badjie, walked into her office and lodged a complaint against the plaintiff.
“Kumba told me that she found some sugar and eggs in the plaintiff’s locker,” said the witness.
She said she told Kumba that every time she would bring a complaint against the plaintiff to her office, adding that she told Kumba that if they happened to take the matter to the manager it could cause something unpleasant.
She said she then asked the acting executive chef to call the plaintiff, and that she advised her to desist from such practice.
She said that Kumba further informed her that she had also discussed the issue with the pastry chef.
According to the acting human resource manager, Kumba told her that the pastry chef ordered some items and, after the breakfast, he found out that eight eggs and 1.1 Kg of sugar were missing.
The witness told the tribunal that the items allegedly stolen had matched with exactly what was bought.
“I asked Kumba who was present when she was removing the alleged items stolen, from the plaintiff’s clocker,” the witness stated, adding that Kumba said it was in the presence of one Marie Jarju, a room attendant at the hotel.
“I told kumba that it was not possible for us to settle this matter alone. I could not take a verbal complaint,” she added.
She said she called Marie Jarju to hear from her, and Marie told her that she was standing by her own locker opposite the plaintiff’s, and kumba asked her to lend her an empty Mayonnaise bucket, which she did.
The witness adduced that Marie further said that she found the allegedly stolen items on the beach, but did not know which locker they were from.
Marie further said to her that, “Kumba said she found the items stolen from the plaintiff’s locker.”
She said Kumba later sent her an email, which she downloaded and forwarded to her director.
“My director than instructed me to get the plaintiff’s version, which I did, “the witness stated.
The plaintiff then told me that she knows nothing about the allegation, and that her locker was always open.
She added that the acting executive chef, Kumba, wrote questions on a sheet of paper, and asked the plaintiff to explain.
The plaintiff maintained her statement, and she then passed the form to her director, who instruction her to call a meeting in the General Manager’s office.
According to her, present at the meeting was the general manager, deputy general manager, acting executive chef, the plaintiff, the pastry chef and herself (the witness).
She said that during the meeting, Kumba explained what had transpired.
The human resource manager further told the tribunal that the executive chef (Kumba) claimed that, based on her experience the day before the plaintiff’s off day, she got suspicious about the plaintiff and searched and she found the items allegedly stolen in her locker.
She added that Kumba told the meeting that she called the plaintiff in her office, in the presence of the pastry chef, and she accepted the allegation, and then apologized.
She adduced that the plaintiff still maintained her statement that her locker was always open, and that it was a set-up by the executive chef, Kumba.
She added that the plaintiff became annoyed at the meeting, and was asked to go home to come with a witness.
“At the subsequent meeting, the plaintiff came with a gentleman, and the story was narrated to him,” the witness told the tribunal.
The plaintiff was again annoyed, and she had to be calmed down by her representative.
“From there, the general manager told the plaintiff, that with effect from today you are terminated; go home. Your termination letter will be sent to your house, and you should bring back all hotel property before final payment will be down,” the witness told the tribunal.
She adduced that the plaintiff later returned the hotel materials to her, and asked for her termination letter, but she told her that it was not ready and they would send it to her as soon as it was done.
According to her, several attempts were made, but to no avail, to give the plaintiff the termination letter, until the matter was brought to the tribunal.