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Court orders company to reinstate woman sacked in 2005

A company has been ordered by an Appeals Court to reinstate a woman whose employment was terminated in 2005 to the same position.

The annulled an award delivered by an Industrial Tribunal on grounds that it contained contradictory conclusions.

CareMalta Ltd had terminated the employment of its manager at the Zejtun home for the elderly, Antoinette Vella, in August 2005, on the basis that she had accepted money and gifts from residents or their relatives and that she had sold property belonging to the company.

Ms Vella had recourse to the Industrial Tribunal to contest this decision.

According to her, no evidence had been produced to justify the termination of her employment. She added that the charges against her had been vague and that she had not been able to properly defend herself.

The Tribunal found that there existed valid grounds to justify the termination of her employment but concluded that the charges against Ms Vella had been generic and not specific.

Consequently, Ms Vella was not in a position to defend herself in an adequate manner.

The tribunal had found that the company had violated the rules of natural justice in the manner in which it had terminated Ms Vella's employment and CareMalta Ltd was ordered to pay Ms Vella 1,500 euros in compensation.

Ms Vella appealed on the basis that the conclusions reached by the Tribunal were contradictory for it had found in favour of the company and had awarded her compensation.

In this morning's judgement, Mr Justice Philip Sciberras said that if an award or a judgment were contradictory, then they were not valid.

The Tribunal ought to have annulled the termination of Ms Vella's employment in order for to be in a position to protect her fundamental rights and to defend herself, he said.

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