Keith Lewis v Board of Management of the Lodge School

JudgeChristopher Blackman,Edward Bushell,Mrs. Beverley Beckles
Judgment Date10 May 2019
CourtEmployment Rights Tribunal (Barbados)
Docket NumberCase: ERT/2015/104



Christopher Blackman Esq, GCM; Q.C; Chairman

Edward Bushell Esq and Mrs. Beverley Beckles Members

Case: ERT/2015/104

Keith Lewis

(Represented by the Barbados Secondary Teachers' Union)

Board of Management of the Lodge School

Patrick Frost Esq SCM; with Mrs Mary Redman, President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union for the Claimant

Owen Estwick Esq, GCM for the Respondent on May 9, 2010

Miss Jennifer Small Crown Counsel, for the Respondent on May 10, 2019


At the conclusion of the hearing on May 10, 2019, the Tribunal unanimously determined that the Claimant Mr. Keith Lewis (hereinafter referred to as Mr. Lewis) had been unfairly dismissed by the Respondent, the Board of Management of the Lodge School (hereinafter referred to as the Board). The Tribunal requested and received submissions as to the quantum of compensation, having previously declared that neither re-engagement nor reinstatement were options to be considered.


This judgment briefly provides a background to the issues considered by the Tribunal and the reasons for its determination of unfair dismissal, as well as a computation of the amount to be awarded.


Mr. Lewis commenced work at the Lodge School as a General Worker on a temporary basis, on March 10, 2008 after being interviewed and sent a letter dated February 25, 2008 offering him the position. The duties to be performed were inter alia, keeping grounds and external areas of the school clean, on a daily basis; taking out garbage; mowing the lawns when necessary and responsibility for the proper care of the tools. His hours of work, Monday to Friday was 7.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. with one-hour break for lunch.


In the Board's Statement of Case, it alleged that over the years Mr. Lewis was given several verbal warnings relating to his work habits, and one written warning dated March 1, 2011 from the then Secretary Treasurer of the Board, Miss Judith Murrell which particularly related to his non-compliance with the requirement to work to 4.30 p.m.


On March 3, 2011 Mr. Lewis authorised the Board to deduct union dues in favour of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (The Union). In November 2013, Union wrote to the Board raising concerns as to Mr. Lewis's continued temporary status. The Union was advised that the provisions of the Public Service Act required that the post of General Worker be advertised, before it could be filled on a permanent basis, and that Mr. Lewis was eligible to apply.


Mr. Lewis was interviewed on July 18, 2014 by the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee of the Board for the position of General Worker. Miss Judith Murrell, the former Secretary Treasurer of the Board, who had been summoned as a witness on behalf of the Claimant, testified that whilst the Minutes of the meeting held that day indicated her presence at the meeting, the contents of the resulting minutes in some material aspects were not what she may have recorded. Miss Murrell was not cross examined by Mr. Owen Estwick, the Board's representative. He was also the Chairman of the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee panel.


The critical highlights of the Minutes are (i) para. 2.5, which listed the persons for interview; (ii) para. 2.6, which listed the questions that were to be asked of the candidates; (iii) para. 2.8, which focused on “the...

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