A woman commissioned to run the admissions office and attract students to the American University of Malta has filed a judicial protest against Sadeen Education Investment Ltd and the Attorney General claiming that her dismissal pending probation breached her fundamental rights.
Chiara Ludovica Battistelli and her husband Gerardo Donati, formerly residing in Belgium, had moved to Malta together with their children following the woman’s consultancy contract with Sadeen which was effective between February 15 and the end of May.
Upon the expiration of the contract, Ms Battistelli was to sign a definite contract as director of admissions for a further period of three years, commencing on June 1.
Under this contract she was to earn an annual salary of €52,500 in addition to health insurance and expenses relative to her children’s schooling. This contract was subject to a six-month probationary period.
Upon signing this contract, the woman, who formerly used to travel to Malta for three days on a monthly basis, decided to take up residence on the island. Her husband abandoned his managerial post at a financial firm in Belgium so as to be with his family. The couple’s son was also registered at a Maltese school.
However, Ms Battistelli’s diligent efforts to attract a number of enrollments, thereby enabling the AUM to commence operations, did not pay off. While still under probation, she received notice of termination from her superiors.
The woman was informed that her contract was to be terminated on September 4 and no justification for this was proffered. Indeed, she could avail herself of no remedy under Maltese employment law since said termination occurred during probation.
However, such absence of a redress at law constituted a breach of their fundamental rights, the couple argued, pointing out that Sadeen Education Investment Ltd had acted abusively and had caused them serious damages.
The couple therefore jointly filed the judicial protest, calling upon the company to make good such damages or else face further court action.
Lawyer Joseph Ellis signed the judicial protest.