Morgan v Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Resort & Spa

JurisdictionBahamas
CourtIndustrial Court
JudgeThompson, V.P.
Judgment Date04 Mar 2015
Docket NumberIT/NES/ 1506 of 2010

Industrial Tribunal

Thompson, V.P.

IT/NES/ 1506 of 2010

Morgan
and
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Resort & Spa
Appearances:

Mr. Obie Ferguson of Counsel for the applicant.

Mr. Dwight Glinton of Counsel for the respondent.

Employment Law - Industrial dispute — Termination of employment — Dismissal — Whether applicant was working on fixed term contract — Whether applicant wrongfully dismissed — Whether applicant entitled to damages.

Thompson, V.P.
1

This matter was set down for hearing on March 3rd and 4th, 2015. Counsel for the respondent advised the court that his client was not in possession of an Originating Application and that a Clerk from his chambers attended the offices of the Tribunal to collect copies of certain documents only to be turned away. However, the court was able to show that the Originating Application which counsel for the respondent said his client didn't have, was forwarded to a Mr. John Keating the then General Manager under cover letter dated November 03rd, 2010.

2

The matter was stood down for a half an hour (1/2) pursuant to Section 60 of the Industrial Relations Act with a view to a possible resolution. However, no resolution was arrived at.

EVIDENCE OF THE APPLICANT:
3

The applicant commenced employment with the respondent on or about December 22nd, 2009 as Director of Security in charge of all security for Exuma. There were three supervisors and about twenty-five (25) officers. The applicant worked for the respondent for approximately one and a half (1 1/2) years. He was terminated on the 7th May, 2010.

4

At the time of termination, the applicant's salary was $36,000.00 annually. The applicant's other benefits included medical and dental insurance along with appropriate accommodations. Also promised was a bonus at the end of the year as set out in paragraph 9 of the Contract of Employment.

5

As it relates to accommodations, it is the applicant's evidence that initially when they were negotiating his move to the Bahamas he was to be provided suitable accommodations. However, at the opening of the resort the applicant was asked to live in the other line staff employees housing accommodations.

6

He raised this issue with his Corporate Directors Messrs: Michael Brown and Shawn DaCosta in Jamaica. It was then subsequently agreed that the applicant could rent an apartment for no more than $1,500.00 per month and that he would be reimbursed when the hotel was fully operational. He was provided with meals when he was at work. When asked by the court whether the reimbursement was put in black and white he said that it was not.

7

Counsel for the applicant asked the applicant how many meals was he entitled to and he said two and the value of those meals would have been between $2:00 –$3:00 each. As to what he was given when he was terminated, the applicant said that it was set out in the termination letter. The letter is set out below and was entered into evidence as EX “P.M. 1”

Termination letter:

“Sandals

Sandals Resorts International

P. O. Box 100, Sent Avenue; Montego Bay, Jamaica W.I.

Tel: 876.979.9130/Fax 876.684.8613

May 7, 2010

Mr. Philip Morgan c/o Sandals Emerald Bay Resort

Georgetown

Exuma

Dear Mr. Morgan:

Pursuant to para. 15(2) of your letter of employment dated December 22, 2009, by this letter we formally advise of the termination of your services to the Company. We hereby give you one (1) month's pay in lieu of notice terminating your employment to Sandals Resorts International Limited effective May 7, 2010. Your salary advice represents the following:

  • 1. Pay in lieu of vacation leave — 3 days

  • 2. Pay in lieu of Notice — 4 weeks

Kindly return your Staff I.D., Name Badge, Cellular Phone, Company keys and uniforms to the Human Resources Department.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Sincerely,

(Signature)

Capt. Michael Brown

Director

Security and Loss Prevention

ROYAL PLANTATION

(Signature)

Cheryl Price

Group Manager

Human Resources and Benefits

BEACHES GRAND PINEAPPLE”

8

There was also a letter dated April 13th, 2010 from Mr. John Keating. This letter was read into the record by the applicant. It is also set out below:–

“SANDALS

EMERALD BAY

GREAT EXUMA, BAHAMAS

April 13, 2010

Mr. Philip Morgan

Corporate Security

Sandals Emerald Bay

Great Exuma, Bahamas

Dear Mr. Morgan,

Further to your many conversations with Captain Brown you are being transferred back to Jamaica where your services are needed within the company. We will make all the necessary travel arrangements for your travel back to Jamaica.

We thank you for your time at Sandals Emerald Bay, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Sincerely, (signature)

John Keating

General Manager

Cc: Captain Brown

Antoinette Bowleg, HR Assistant”

9

Counsel for the applicant then asked the applicant whether thenecessary arrangements were made for him to travel back to Jamaica and his answer was no. The letter dated the 13th, April, 2010 was entered into evidence as EX. “P.M. 2.” There was reference to the other letter dated May 07th, 2010 and the applicant acknowledged receiving it. He was asked to read it which he did. This was entered into evidence as EX. “P.M. 3.” Reference was also made to a letter dated the 12th May, 2010 which the applicant acknowledged receiving. He was asked to read it which he did.

10

The applicant confirmed that the respondent did secure the funds to facilitate his travel to Jamaica. However, he said he did receive a ticket but the travel date had already passed. The letter of May 12th, 2010 was entered into evidence as EX. “P.M. 4.”

11

The applicant was directed to the next document which the applicant identified as a copy of his work permit for Sandals Emerald Bay. He explained that it was to expire January 15th, 2011. This document was entered into evidence as EX. “P.M. 5.” The next document to which the applicant was referred was his contract of employment which he says he signed with Shawn DaCosta. He explained that the start date was December 22nd, 2009, however it was dated January 25th, 2010. He was directed to paragraph 16 and asked to read it which he did. Paragraph 16 reads as follows:–

“16. PRE-CONDITIONS:

This offer is conditional upon:

  • (a) Your completing a medical with a local doctor selected by the Company.

  • (b) Satisfactory responses being received from your referees, who we will contact after you have indicated your acceptance of the offer of employment;

  • (c) Your submitting authenticated copies of your diplomas an/or certificates;

  • (d) Your submitting a copy of your Birth Certificate and a signed passport size photograph;

  • (e) A work permit being obtained for you (if applicable).”

    The contract of employment was entered into evidence as EX. “P.M. 6.”

12

According to the applicant when he was terminated he sought mediation from the local labour office through a Mr. Leslie Curtis who convened a meeting with the applicant and Mr. Keating, the applicant's wife Richette and one Antonette Bowleg. The conclusion of the meeting according to the applicant was that his termination was unlawful and that he should be re-instated by Wednesday May 26th, 2010. However he was not re-instated. The applicant added that it was agreed that he was to be re-instated.

13

The applicant was then asked by the court if anything was said to him about why he was terminated and he said no, other than to say that he had abandoned his job on a day which he says was his day off. He went on to explain that he believed it was on or about April 0 1 st, 2010, when he went to Mr. Keating and sat with him as he usually did to give an update as to what was happening. They discussed among other things the arrival of the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. P. J. Patterson and the arrival of the Honourable Hubert Ingraham the then Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. According to the applicant, he and Mr. Keating agreed that it was not a state visit so the security department wasn't directly involved.

14

The applicant also discussed with Mr. Keating the fact that they had contact with Inspector Strachan the Officer-In-Charge of Exuma. Also discussed was Security Manager Joe Cox who was assigned to assist with the opening of the resort in a security capacity. The applicant's further evidence is that he also discussed with Mr. Keating the fact that he would have been travelling to Nassau and would not have been on the Island on the day in question. As far as the applicant was aware this was not an issue.

15

When the applicant returned to Exuma on the Sunday he received a message from Mr. Keating that he needed to see him first thing Monday morning in his office before he started his usual duties.

16

During the meeting with Mr. Keating, the applicant says that Mr. Keating told him that it was irresponsible and unbecoming of him as security director to have left the resort while the former prime minister of Jamaica and the then prime minister of the Bahamas were on property. The applicant was of the firm view that this contradicted the conversation they had about his day off. The court then asked the applicant if the Saturday was his day off. He confirmed that it was.

17

The applicant explained that after he was told it was irresponsible he was then told that he was suspended until further notice. The applicant then tried to walk through the situation but says that Mr. Keating did not give him an opportunity to speak and he was also told to turn in his keys and leave the property.

18

After this encounter, the applicant sent an e-mail to Captain Brown informing him of what had transpired and it wasn't until a couple days after that he received a response. He wouldn't even answer any phone calls from the applicant. However, when the applicant did receive a response from Captain Brown, he was told that his suspension was overturned and that he should return to work. He did return...

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