Former BTA worker had ‘300 sick days in one year’

The Employment Rights Tribunal hearing the unfair dismissal case of former quality assurance officer at the then Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) Constance Reid-Batson heard this afternoon that she had chalked up 300 sick days in one year alone.

The BTA is claiming that Reid-Batson, who started work in 1986, was dismissed in May 2014 because her prolonged illness affected the agency’s productivity.

The number of sick days came to light as Reid-Batson was being subjected to intense questioning on the witness stand by the authority’s attorney Dr Lenda Blackman, as hearing commenced at the Warrens Office Complex.

With the BTA’s records in hand, Blackman asked the claimant if she would agree that she was absent from work for 300 days in 2013.

“I cannot agree on those figures for 2013. I have all my figures for 2013. I could agree once I check my records,” the witness replied.

The attorney also showed her a company document which revealed that she had been absent from work for 146 days in 2012.

“I cannot accept those figures as correct . . . because I am aware that the department makes a lot of mistakes,” she told the tribunal, which comprised Chairman Hal Gollop, QC; Ulric Sealy and John Williams.

Challenged to provide documents to contradict the figures, Reid-Batsonsaid she was unable to because “ I was not given the opportunity to get my personal files from the BTA with my leave”.

However, after persistent questioning by both the attorney and Gollop, she admitted she had never returned to the office to request any documents; that her attendance had been an issue, and that she was unaware whether the attendance records were revised after she had questioned them.

The Tribunal also heard that Reid-Batson, who is represented by Gregory Nicholls, was away from work for six months after getting an extension to her sick leave on July 10, 2013, and her appearance before the medical board for evaluation was followed by more sick leave.

The former BTA worker told the hearing she had agreed to see a cardiologist but had been unable to honour that appointment, to which Blackman countered that Reid-Batson had agreed to a second appointment.

However, Reid-Batson said that to this day she was still waiting on her former employer to make the arrangements.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday at 2 p.m.

38 Responses to Former BTA worker had ‘300 sick days in one year’

  1. Jennifer December 8, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Let us just say she had a year home sick. I guess the other 65 days is weekends. I wonder who or what she was sick of.

  2. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock December 8, 2016 at 2:46 am

    It means that she attended work that year less than 17 days.

  3. Bobby Gilkes
    Bobby Gilkes December 8, 2016 at 3:42 am

    And my boss does want to kill me if i miss a day ….

  4. Hal Austin December 8, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Why was she not offered medical retirement?

  5. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke December 8, 2016 at 5:10 am

    The country sick so the lady caught it from there I believe

  6. Curtis Brewster
    Curtis Brewster December 8, 2016 at 5:10 am


  7. Natalia Reid
    Natalia Reid December 8, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Ok, so if you had 146 in 2012, why did the employers not have you in front the medical board from then? Somebody from NIS help me out, cuz this doesn’t make any sense. How is somebody allowed to keep a job after this much sick leave? How much continual certified sick leave is a person allowed to have before going before a medical board? This ain’t really making much sense

  8. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne December 8, 2016 at 5:40 am

    She’s still waiting on her former employer to make the arrangements for a doctors appointment? ?? Since when does and employer make those arrangements. Don’t you make your own arrangements for doctors appointments, go to them, submit the insurance claims etc??

    • Rawle Maycock
      Rawle Maycock December 8, 2016 at 7:20 am

      That’s right when incomes under workman’s compensation!

    • Sarah Pomeranz Layne
      Sarah Pomeranz Layne December 8, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Thanks .. but was it under workman’s Comp??? Guess I’ve never had the cause to have an injury or illness caused by my work.. but being to ill to go to a doctor?? Hummm.

  9. Randy Hartman
    Randy Hartman December 8, 2016 at 5:50 am

    Maximum productivity.. why is this even before a tribunal I wonder..

  10. Hazel Harrison
    Hazel Harrison December 8, 2016 at 5:52 am

    lol at David Taylor

  11. Jeff Weekes
    Jeff Weekes December 8, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Go home and relax yuh self

  12. Llyn Kent
    Llyn Kent December 8, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Could Barbados Today please REMOVE that Harmony Store pop-up from covering the news. Put it at the side or something. I navigate your page for NEWS!

  13. Oneal Belle
    Oneal Belle December 8, 2016 at 6:07 am

    David Taylor people like u will say so

  14. Smith Maxine
    Smith Maxine December 8, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Barbados productivity is among the worst in the world. She should have been forced to take long-term disability.

  15. Zabeeda Abdool
    Zabeeda Abdool December 8, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Really…sick dose not tell a person when it’s coming….So many important issues need to check out….I think wanna should go around this lovely island and see what’s going on…

  16. Heather Williams
    Heather Williams December 8, 2016 at 6:47 am


  17. Jennifer December 8, 2016 at 6:52 am

    @Llyn Kent I agree with you. This Harmony pop up is making me sick. I may stay off this site for 300 days. There is no need for it if some one need clothing they know where to find them.

  18. Tony Webster December 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

    This is not the only case of chronic -sicness, or possibly “paid vacation”- depending on one’s perspective. I am confident, in any case, that there is a willing, able, and qualified person, currently unemployed, somewhere in this Blessed Rock, that could perform the duties of this lady, with honor and distinction, and also with Pride and industry.

    How the heck can we run a country, with the likes of such be-devilling our Public Sector? It is totally unfair to the other workers, who not only have to get their butts to work each and every grinding day….but then pick up the slack so caused by such “circumstances”. We need our brains to be examined…and to locate exactly where it was we conveniently put away the national motto….to keep it safe and warm…to be occasionaly brought-out…dusted-off…and waved with patriotic fervour.

  19. John Digger Bryant
    John Digger Bryant December 8, 2016 at 7:03 am

    only in gov’t boy

  20. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith December 8, 2016 at 7:18 am


  21. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock December 8, 2016 at 7:23 am

    You must have a medical practitioners certificate no mentioned of such.

  22. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock December 8, 2016 at 7:25 am

    This lady had enough years that she could’ve retire but as some of you don’t know medically unfit pays a better pension!

  23. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner December 8, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Wow got to love way things are done in Barbados.

  24. Javier Maynard
    Javier Maynard December 8, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Nah 300 is bs. That person was scheming.

  25. Andy December 8, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I wonder if this person was paid her salary after the sick leave entitlement period passed.
    Did she get NIS sickness benefits?
    After all… there has to be some checks & balances.
    After a period of certified sick leave (maybe 4-6 weeks maximum) the employer should not be paying her a salary and NIS would kick in for a period. Did this person abuse the system?
    I hope I am reading the details correctly. Help me here.

  26. Mhizzjoan Moore
    Mhizzjoan Moore December 8, 2016 at 8:39 am

    This ain’t nothing new,this is the norm for the majority of government workers

  27. BaJan boy December 8, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Seems stupid to me if the BTA was restructuring in 2014 to this so called new company and staff were paid out and had to reapply for the positions in the new company why didn’t this happen to her. It can only be that some speightful person/s thought that since she was sick for that length of time she should go without any compensation. That is how people of power are in these organizations behave towards staff. Guarantee if she had been allowed the decency of being paid out like all of the other employees there would never have been a case. The fact that they were being asked to reapply for the job in the restructuring process she could have been declined like many others without any legal recourse. Just speightful despite all of the years service she gave..

  28. Ejd December 8, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I know of persons who went to work every day and did not drive a stroke because they were not given anything to do. I am dead serious. Because they were at loggerhead with their immediate boss, they were not given any assignment. They were paid religiously at the end of the month with the tax payers money.

  29. sam clarke December 8, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Folks, stop being so judgmental with a person’s health. It is sad to see the type of comments with regard to a persons sickness. Have you all ever had or know someone who has a heart, cancer, or any other sickness? you sure would not make such statements , cause you would know how hard it is , when saddled with such a sickness.

  30. ch December 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    The real issue is not only the amount of sick leave but the fact that her employer allowed it.
    Taxpayers’ money was used to pay her a salary for doing nothing and that is a fact regardless of the reason.
    And why has she avoided seeing a specialist ?
    The process for being certified as medically unfit to work in government seems very long and complex and it needs to be revised for fairness and efficiency.
    There are people battling all kinds of illnesses who get up every morning and go to work when they would rather roll over in bed and collect a paycheck, like her, but we all can’t do that.
    Life goes on in the real world and there is no excuse for this.

  31. North Point December 8, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    1. I don’t know the lady involved in this matter, but from what I’m gathering she was just playing the system, however it turned around and bit her where it mattered most, and that was her “PRIDE”. When you are sick you have to take care of you, your company don’t play any role, she was plain stubbourn, and the only person that suffered was her. She is now on the outside looking in, keep her there. When she was being crossed examed she was dodging every question asked, and was trying to make her work place seemed incompetent, I am glad to see that someone took the “BULL” by the horn and got the rid of her for a good, never to return. The work place is filled with persons like her, they report sick, and are still looking forward at month end to draw a full salary. I know what I am talking about, I worked in a similar position in government and I saw it happening and most of us could not do anything about it. Later on someone had enough “BALLS” and they were weeded out. Kudos to Mr. Gollop and his team. She wanted to be home and that is where she is.

  32. anthony durant December 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Why the company didnt send her to a company doctor before sacking her or even after the frist 3mths off.

  33. Mac December 9, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Very little information is provided but it appears as though the lady is genuinely ill.
    Her appearance before the medical board for evaluation was followed by more sick leave. What was the findings of the board.?
    Given her period of employment could she not be asked to retire medically unfit thus securing any benefits.
    I appears as though the BTA action was taken prematurely.
    The caption of this article is very misleading.


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