Former DBS Manager Loses Court Battle
Former manager of the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBC) Mariette Warrington has vowed to appeal the recent decision of Justice Brian Cottle to dismiss her claim.
The Judge ruled that she had no contract of employment and thus no issue of breach of contract arises and so dismissed her claim.
"We will be appealing this decision," Warrington said and referred the Sun to her lawyer David Bruney.
Warrington was first employed as manager at the state-owned Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBS Radio) on contract for three years and then five years which ended on December 31, 2008. Under the terms of her contract, she gave notice in writing of her interest to continue in the post but no contract was executed.
Despite the absence of a written contract, she continued to perform the duties of general manager. She took the matter to court contending that her continued employment after 31 December 2008 meant she was under the same terms of the previous contract. She claimed damages equal to six month's salary because she was summarily dismissed without notice.
DBC is a statutory corporation established under the Dominica Broadcasting Corporation Act chap 45:06 of the Laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Section 6 (6) of the Act requires the Board of Directors of DBC to appoint a manager upon the advice of the Prime Minister.
In his judgment, Justice Cottle said "the claimant (Warrington) accepts that the Board could not appoint her as manager without the advice of the Prime Minister."
According to Justice Cottle, at the trial, evidence was given by a former board member Joel Joseph who stated that the board received advice of the Prime Minister at a meeting with the board dated 17, February 2009. However, another board member, Aurelius Jolly, gave evidence that the Prime Minister "merely said he would await formal communication of the matter."
"No such formal communication was ever sent from the board," Justice Cottle wrote.
He further stated that counsel for DBC Alick Lawrence submitted that this is a hurdle the claimant (Warrington) "cannot surmount."
"For there to have been any implied contract the Board must have agreed with the claimant…without the advice of the Prime Minister, the Board had no authority to appoint a manager. Any such purported appointment is thus void and of no legal effect as it is ultra vires," he said.
"It follows that the claimant had no contract of employment and thus no issue of breach of contract arises. The claim is dismissed. The defendants filed a counterclaim for funds which were received by the claimant as staff advances and payment on her behalf of certain expenses related to her further education.
"The claimant admits these advances and payments in the sum of $35,963.75 and $27,336.00 respectively. The defendants at the trial abandoned the counterclaim for any amount in excess of what the claimant admits.
"Judgment is given for the defendants on the counterclaim for $61,299.75 together with prescribed cots on this sum," the judge ruled.