Dismissal of iMart cashier raises eyebrows
The Labour Department is said to be looking into the recent dismissal of Tammy Edwards, who is now popularly known as the Eyebrow Girl, by iMart convenience store.
About two weeks ago Edwards posted a video of herself on social media which went viral.
In it, she was seen wearing makeup on just one eyebrow, and could be heard complaining about having to vacate the mall with her makeup incomplete during a fire drill at Sheraton Mall, Christ Church.
The next day she was reportedly sacked by iMart but was immediately embraced by prominent members of the entertainment community, including Peter Ram and Gorg, who have since taken her in studio to produce a ‘bashment soca’ song about her experience.
This has sparked public debate over whether the company and the former employee both went too far in terms of their actions.
Asked by reporters Monday if the matter was before her department, Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo responded: “I think it is at the Labour Department. And like any other case the Labour Officers, they are following up on it.
“I know that they would have gone in and had discussions and so on. So there is a process that would be followed,” she said in a brief comment on the issue.
Meantime, one local trade unionist has described the practice of employers using their employees’ social media postings to pass judgment on their work as “a dangerous precedent”.
Acting Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Wayne Walrond said even in cases of lewd and unacceptable behaviour, the employer was “duty bound to give that employee the opportunity to remove the post in question.
“This is called natural justice. The first recourse should be to call the employee and ask them to remove the post,” Walrond said.
He referenced the recent Eyebrow Girl video, saying there was need for a clear protocol.
“As it stands, a dangerous precedent is set because an employer can go on a profile of their employee, see something they don’t like, then become judge and jury and dismiss that person,” the veteran trade unionist said.
Pointing out that digital profiles could be hacked and videos or photos could be manipulated, he said: “To rely on sites like Facebook could be dangerous because people have been known to frame persons.
“A persons face could be placed on another image, so the media is open to manipulation. People have already been damaged and harmed wrongfully,” he contended.