Tribunal: It was fair to fire man after fight at work

By Rashad Rolle

Tribune News Editor


THE Industrial Tribunal dismissed the claims of a man who said Aquapure wrongfully and unfairly dismissed him after he fought someone on the company’s Bernard Road property in 2022.

Earl Henry Lockhart claimed he was wrongfully and unfairly dismissed, his contract was breached, and he didn’t receive termination pay, vacation pay, and other benefits owed him.

During cross-examination, Mr Lockhart said he was hit in his head with a Guinness bottle during the fight on March 12, 2022, causing blood to drain down his face.

He said the fight began when he tried to take back a food item from his colleague, who made a particular remark to him.

Kelcy Lundy, the production manager, testified that he did not witness the fight, but when he arrived, the two involved in the altercation accused the other of starting the fight.

“I informed them of the policy that every one of us is aware of –– that if you fight on the job you will be terminated.”

He said the policy is not written but is well known in the company.

Mr Lockhart argued that it couldn’t be enforced if the policy was not written.

He said the company should have taken a written statement from each employee to determine who started the fight.

 Ultimately, Industrial Tribunal Vice President Rionda Godet found that Aquapure’s submissions “more accurately reflect the evidence presented” given that Mr Lockhart admitted during cross-examination that he knew the company’s no tolerance for fighting policy.

 However, she acknowledged that in disciplinary proceedings, people expect to have the chance to discuss why they are being terminated.

 “Certainly, in matters of disciplinary proceedings, one would expect that there would have been an opportunity for at least a discussion where a person effecting the termination would have advanced the respondent’s position and why, and offered an opportunity for the applicant to say why he should not have been terminated,” she wrote. “This did not take place –– however –– given the company’s stated policy and the information known at hand, it was reasonable to believe that the fact of termination was a foregone conclusion to all and, in all the premises of the circumstances arising, there was little the applicant could have said to have reversed this, in light of the information advanced to Mr Lundy.”


hrysippus 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow. The Industrial tribunal magistrates' decision actually coming down on the side of the Bahamas beleaguered business community rather than the employee. That does not happen very often; there usually seems to be huge bias against the business owners in favour of the employee. We must hope to see more just and fair decisions like this one.


Sign in to comment