Fri | Oct 30, 2020

Hotel worker wrestles Iberostar in new twist to labour row

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:25 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Marlon McLeod says he has suffered psychological anguish during his four-year suspension.
Marlon McLeod says he has suffered psychological anguish during his four-year suspension.

A hotel employee who was sent on nearly four years’ suspension without pay by the Iberostar Rose Hall and subsequently sacked when he returned to work yesterday is appealing the decision of the St James-based resort to boot him.

When Marlon McLeod returned to work yesterday, he received a letter from the hotel advising him that his position had been made redundant. Consequently, he was offered a severance package of $292,230, plus $112,070 for four weeks’ payment in lieu of vacation leave.

He has been given seven days to respond and promised payment within 21 days once there is a settlement.

This comes after the hotel last week wrote to his attorney saying that the suspension would be lifted effective January 13.

In an interview with The Gleaner, McLeod said that despite the effects of the ordeal on his mental health, he was ready to get back to work.

“I would not have expected this kind of thing, and it really did devastate me … . I had to even seek counselling from even a psychologist. That’s how bad it was. I’ve had days and nights when I was crying wondering what next.

“... I’ve been waiting and I always maintain the position with the company that I am ready to resume my duties,” he said.

Rejected package

McLeod, whose plight was first reported in The Gleaner 10 days ago, subsequently wrote a letter to Iberostar’s director of human resources rejecting the severance package.

“I cannot accept your termination of my employment and compensation as stated. I came here today with the view to return to work and resume my duties given that my suspension was lifted today,” McLeod said in the undated letter.

McLeod, who was suspended without pay on February 2, 2016, over allegations of fraud at the luxury resort in Montego Bay, also took issue with the exclusion of payment for the period he was off the job.

“I have received no communication from you as it relates to payment of my wages for the time I have been on suspension without pay. I am, therefore, appealing your decision to terminate me by way of redundancy,” the two-page letter read.

Attorney-at-law Lorenzo Eccleston, who represents McLeod, said that the hotel’s decision to dismiss his client was in breach of the labour code.

“They are now going to dismiss him now without a hearing, but they put it under the cloak or under the pseudo-ringtone of redundancy that doesn’t exist and that is what pisses me off,” he said.

However, Gavin Goffe, the attorney representing the resort, said that it acted in accordance with a Privy Council ruling.

“If by the time someone is reinstated, somebody else is occupying that position, you have no choice but to make the person redundant …, ” said the attorney, citing a Jamaica Flour Mills ruling by the Privy Council.