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ATL ordered to reinstate Barber

Published:Thursday | September 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) has found that Catherine Barber, former general manager of the ATL Pension Fund, was unjustifiably dismissed and should be reinstated on or before October 12.

Barber had taken her former employer to the tribunal, contending that she was unlawfully dismissed in April 2011.

Barber, who was represented by attorneys-at-law Gavin Goffe and Jermaine Case, contended that she was not given a hearing before her dismissal.

The tribunal disagreed with ATL's attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman that there was no need for her to be given a hearing because of the allegations against her at the time.

The tribunal ruled on Wednesday that if there is a failure to comply with the order for reinstatement with full emoluments, then she must be compensated in the amount of 260 weeks total emoluments, in full and final settlement, for the unjustified termination of her employment.


Demeaning, unwarranted treatment


The Tribunal said the manner in which she was dismissed and the ignominious way in which she was sent home and her house searched by the police the following day "were totally unjustified, demeaning, unwarranted and in total disregard of the Labour Relations Code as well as her dignity".

Yesterday, in response to the ruling, Goffe said: "We are satisfied with the IDT's decision and hope that the company will respect and comply with it."

He added: "Miss Barber has suffered enormously for the past four and a half years, having had her home searched by the police, lost her job, blacklisted in her profession, arrested and charged with various crimes and having her reputation shredded to pieces ... ."

Barber's dismissal stemmed from her being charged, along with two other former executives Patrick Lynch and Dr Jeffrey Pyne, for allegedly distributing $1.7 billion of interest and withdrawal surpluses to members of the scheme without the consent of its founder, Gorstew Limited.

They were also accused of using forged letters to deceive ATL Chairman Gordon 'Butch' Stewart that consent had been obtained.

The three were freed of the charges in August 2014, after Resident Magistrate Lorna Shelly-Williams upheld no-case submissions by their attorneys.

In dismissing the charges, the judge said the prosecutors did not present a case that would result in a reasonable jury finding them guilty.

Gorstew Ltd is challenging the RM's ruling and has brought an application in the Supreme Court seeking leave to have the decision quashed. The Judicial Review Court heard the application last week and has reserved its decision.