No ruling yet in case of worker with 464 sick days

The two sides in the unfair dismissal dispute between the then Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and its former Quality Assurance Officer Constance Reid-Batson are talking again in a bid to reach an amicable settlement.

The Employment Rights Tribunal Wednesday ordered them to take another shot at conciliation and to report back to the panel on February 8, 2017.

The BTA, which has since been dissolved and replaced by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, said Reid-Batson, who started work in 1986, was dismissed in May 2014 because her prolonged illness had affected the agency’s productivity.

It was revealed during a sitting of the tribunal last month that Reid-Batson had chalked up 464 sick days over a 24-month period and had received ten warning letters between February 7, 2014 and March 5, 2014 regarding her absence from work,

Tribunal Chairman Hal Gollop, QC, had said on Tuesday he was not satisfied that all efforts at finding a settlement had been exhausted.

The panel met briefly on Wednesday afternoon at the Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St Michael, during which legal counsel for Reid-Batson Gregory Nicholls advised Gollop that both parties had accepted his recommendation to continue the conciliation process, but they would need two weeks to complete the process.

“I am of the view that the tribunal’s time could be better served if we could get a short adjournment on the matters to allow counsel for both parties to discuss the matter further,” Gollop said in response.

“I am more convinced after giving the suggestion some thought since we took the adjournment yesterday that this is the most equitable means by which we may proceed in this matter. So I would like to thank counsel for taking into consideration the advice of the tribunal. I wish you would be able to meet an amicable resolution as soon as possible.”

He reminded the attorneys-at-law that “all those who come to equity must come with clean hands”.

“I exhort you to give a full exploration of the possibilities which will make a settlement possible. That is in keeping with the very ethos of the Employment Rights Act which imposes such an important jurisdiction on the Chief Labour Officer.

“I exhort you to proceed in a manner that may best lead to a resolution of this matter and . . . I should wish that you should report to the Tribunal as soon as possible,” he said. 

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