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24 Fired From Gaming Board To Get Jobs Back, Court Rules

Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC.

Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A SUPREME Court judge has ordered that 24 people fired from the Gaming Board in 2017 be reinstated and/or damages paid to them, according to lawyer Wayne Munroe.

Justice Indra Charles' ruling is among the first to challenge parts of the Minnis administration's termination exercises that followed the 2017 general election.

Mr Munroe told The Tribune yesterday it opens the door for others who were fired after the election to potentially see their termination reversed.

While his lawyers are calculating how much is now owed to the plaintiffs, he previously said his clients would seek $2.7m in exemplary damages.

Thirty former Gaming Board employees took legal action in 2018 after receiving termination letters between November 1, 2017 and December 13, 2017. They argued the Gaming Board failed to comply with Section 26A of the Employment Act, which outlines redundancy procedures like discussing steps to avoid redundancy with the relevant union.

Palincia Hunter, the Munroe & Associates lawyer who represented the plaintiffs, said of the 24 people ordered reinstated, ten were managerial staff and 14 were from the bargaining unit of the Gaming Board. She said Justice Charles also ordered that two fired contract workers be paid the balance of their contracts and damages. However, the judge did not order that plaintiffs on probationary contracts be reinstated or given damages because the law lets them be terminated without notice, she said.

"(The government) purported to terminate workers based on Section 29 of the Employment Act which allows for termination without notice and in lieu of notice payment of the requisite severance," she said. "But based on the wording of their termination letters, Mr Munroe concluded it was a redundancy procedure that was triggered, not a termination procedure. In that case, the requirements are different. The judge agreed that the procedures taken should not have fallen under Section 29 and that it is the Employment Act amendment Section 26A that it should have fallen under."

Mr Munroe said this is the first time a case has been tried under that provision of the Employment Act, which was enacted in 2017 by the former Christie administration.

"If someone was terminated or downsized from the public service, they could look and see where they fall with respect to the ruling and determine whether they have a right to be vindicated," he said.

In 2017, then Gaming Board Chairman Kenyatta Gibson said the 30 employees were fired following a manpower assessment at the agency. He said the workers were "ill-suited for the modern-day requirements of our current regulatory regime."

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Would Justice Indra Charles have ordered a bankrupt private sector employer to rehire 24 employees who were let go because there was no money to pay them? Obviously Justice Indra Charles assumes the taxpayers of the Bahamas are of unlimited financial means.

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tetelestai 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes, she would have and it would have been derelict if she were not do so. What was done to these Gaming Board employees was cruel, heartless and, most importantly, illegal.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Most if not all of them should never have been hired through political patronage in the first place. If you're young and live long enough, you may experience first hand what our ancestors used sea grape tree leaves for.

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BahamaPundit 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Why does this Government perform so terribly in the Courts? It was a no brainer to hire a private sector law firm for legal advice before making employees redundant. I guess Doc should stick to medicine and let lawyers handle politics.

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BMW 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I dont know about that! Look where lawyers have gotten us as a country. Might be time to look at our very one sided labour laws!

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tetelestai 1 month, 2 weeks ago

In this case, the labour laws are not one sided but, rather the laws performed as they should have and as it was the intent. The law exists so that miscreant employers or corrupt and biased politicians cannot arbitrarily make people redundant. The behaviour of the politican, in this case, is what should be looked at. Not the law.

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proudloudandfnm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

So take them back and fire them under the proper Employment Act section. Duh....

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proudloudandfnm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Wayne bro that suit you wearing....

um... looks really cheaply made bro. Dump it... And jackets need collars man. Shirts don't but jackets always do.... yuck...

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