|Court orders NWC to pay damages to
|PAT ROXBOROUGH, Observer Court Writer|
THE National Water Commission (NWC)
has been ordered to pay damages to Balteano Duffus, its former
director of commercial operations.
The order, which was handed down on
Monday by Supreme Court judge, Lennox Campbell, described the
statutory organisation's handling of Duffus as unauthorised,
unlawful and just plain wrong.
Duffus sued the NWC and its then
chairman, Wayne Reid, on March 9, 1992, for breaching his employment
contract. According to Duffus, he was given two letters on September
7, 1989. One of them advised that he was appointed director of
commercial operations, with effect from January 1, 1987 and the
other that he was being reassigned to a new post -- director of
corporate planning -- with effect from September 4, 1989.
The letters, Duffus said, came
against the background of a request by his managing director that he
accept the new post in order to assist with bringing the NWC to a
more 'business like level'.
Eight months into the post, Duffus
got another letter saying that he was being retired from his new
post. The letter was accompanied by a cheque.
Given Reid's earlier
acknowledgement that the new post was a temporary measure introduced
for the purpose of enhancing the company's operations, Justice
Campbell said that the retiring letter was unlawful and led the
court to draw the inference that personal motives influenced the
NWC's treatment of Duffus.
In the statement of claim that
defined his lawsuit, Duffus claimed loss of income from the date of
his purported retirement, however, Justice Campbell said he wasn't
entitled to that.
Instead the judge awarded him what
amounted to the same thing under the heading of damages
* a sum equivalent to the salary he
would have received from the date of the purported retirement;
* allowances he should have gotten
during the period;
* a sum to represent the loss of
the use of any motor vehicle he would have been entitled to during
the period; and
* payment in lieu of vacation he
would have been entitled to.
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