Magistrate Bertie Pompey has ordered an electrician’s former employer to pay him EC$15,000, representing compensation for overtime work between May 2017 and October 2019.
Pompey awarded the sum to Gary Browne at the Mesopotamia Magistrate’s Court, on Friday.
He made the ruling after Browne’s lawyer, Jomo Thomas, pointed out that the respondent, Jonathan Palmer, had failed to attend any of the three scheduled hearings.
Browne, of Old Montrose, who had been paid EC$2,875 per month, told the court he was claiming for overtime monies between May 2017 and October 2019.
He said that in 2019, the Labour Department visited his then workplace and instructed Palmer to pay workers overtime wage for two years.
He said he didn’t know why the Labour Department had instructed Palmer to compensate him for two years rather than the 17 years for which he had been in Palmer’s employ.
The Labour Department calculated the amount owed to him to be EC$15,000, Browne told the court.
He said that after the Labour Department’s intervention, Palmer instructed the director of maintenance to reduce from nine to eight the number of hours the employees had to work each day.
The electrician said that in November 2020 he received a telephone call from the human resources department saying that he was laid off from the job.
Days later, on Nov. 9, 2020, he was told that his services were no longer required.
Browne said he wrote to the company, enquiring about his outstanding monies but was told that he will only be paid severance and not overtime.
He has since received his severance payment.
The magistrate awarded the full amount, plus cost.
EC$15,000 is the highest amount that a magistrate’s court can award in a civil matter.