$69k-plus for former worker

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The Fiji Court of Appeal has ordered Niranjans Autoport Ltd to pay $60,000 in damages, $3000 in vehicle allowances and $9000 in court costs to a worker dismissed in April 2017.

Avinesh Kumar was the business development manager when he was terminated. Justice Farzana Jameel said Mr Kumar received undue publicity on social media after the was terminated and suffered “shame and humiliation” as a result.

“Whilst the employer has the freedom to terminate a contract of employment for just cause, this does not give him an unfettered power to humiliate, embarrass and treat an employee with gross unfairness and in bad faith, which appeared to have permeated all the events leading to the termination in this case,” she said.

“Whilst damages are meant to restore the injured party to the position (not merely the financial position) that he would have been in if the actionable wrong had not taken place, there is no basis on which to exclude all pecuniary losses suffered connected with the wrong.

“Although courts have been reluctant to award damages for feelings of anguish and hurt as a result of the termination of a contract of employment, the manner of dismissal and the preceding events such as bullying, abuse, or unjustified allegations, are not grounds that the court ought to ignore.”

Niranjans Autoport Ltd was also ordered to pay the contracted salary together with legal interest from February 3, 2017, to 23 June 2017 and to pay to the Fiji National Provident Fund contributions.

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