A recent decision issued by the Industrial Tribunal reviewed a dismissal from a post of employment concerning an employee on a fixed term contract. Margaret Brincat vs Effective Marketing Limited, case number 3085/CC, delivered on the 5th of July 2017 tackled the subject of unfair dismissal.
The employee was engaged as a sales manager with the employer-company. The latter provided services in the marketing industry. The one year fixed term contract was terminated during the eighth month of service. The employer argued that the dismissal occurred on the grounds of incompetency. The case, being complex in nature, calls for a general overview of the background for the better understanding of the circumstances and scenario.
The dismissed employee claimed that the company’s managing director personally hacked her gmail account, interfered with her work pc, changed passwords on work profiles in a way that she could not access her pc. All this was coupled with claims that the employer constantly abused his position of influence to tap into private phone calls while interfering with transactions. This in turn hampered the dismissed employee’s sales effort which was main activity of her job description.
The employer raised the issue that the termination occurred on the basis that Brincat had allegedly kept commission from the employer. For chronological purposes, it is worth highlighting that upon the happening of the alleged wrongful activity of Brincat, the employer, requested Brincat to go out on leave until advised otherwise. This was followed by correspondence from the company’s managing director notifying Brincat that her post was terminated on the grounds of breach of contract attributable to Brincat herself.
In the course of making her claims, Brincat highlighted that the dismissal came about in a scenario where she, as an employee, was reaching her monthly sales target and two weeks after messages (from the employer) lauding efforts and sales figures of the employee.
The Tribunal took note of the fact that there were no particular warnings lodged against the employee during the course of her employment. It also went on to state that there was no evidence that the employer considered any option other than termination when the event which gave rise to termination came about. The tribunal stated that it was not satisfied that fair procedures were used and therefore classified the dismissal as procedurally unfair and abusive. This in turn gave rise for compensation by Effective Marketing Limited to Brincat for unpaid salary arising from an early termination of a fixed term contract.