There is recourse for terminated workers

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Ivan Williams

On Friday of last week, 80 employees were summarily fired from being employees of the various terminal management units across the board. And while their termination states that they will be paid compensation based on years of services, there is more that can be done.
Former Labor Commissioner and Standard Bearer for Stann Creek West for the United Democratic Party, Ivan Williams, has breathed a bit of hope for workers who have been callously terminated by the PUP during the hardest times this country has ever seen. Williams is advising persons who believe they were terminated based on impermissible terms that they have recourse.
Williams says that the Labor Department on consultation with the tripartite body encompassing the business community, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and the Labor Advisory Board has established a tribunal which can offer redress. Under the Labor Amendment act #3 of 2011 workers who believe they have been wrongfully terminated can go to the Labor Department and make a formal complaint.
That complaints would be on the grounds that they were terminated based on discrimination; in the most recent cases political victimization being the reason. The complaint then will empower labor officers to investigate whether or not wrongful termination took place. Officers will then go to the work place to carry out an investigation. They are able to look into employees files to see if the termination was warranted or not or if it was discriminatory in nature. After the investigation is completed this will be submitted to the Labor Commissioner who has the power to call on the minister to set up a labor complaints tribunal to adjudicate as to reason for termination. That tribunal will then look for grounds of impermissible termination, one being political victimization. Williams says there are between eight to ten grounds of impermissible termination.
If it is deemed that the termination was impermissible, more than just receiving their labor benefits, the tribunal can reinstate the employee or compensate beyond labor benefits. It is noteworthy that the tribunal can only be empaneled on a complaint.
Another matter that Williams discussed was that employees who have been terminated are entitled to receiving their benefits in the next pay cycle. Williams says that in some instances this has not taken place which is in violation of the Labor Act.