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Jul 8, 2014

Terminated BWS Employees Return to Supreme Court

Said Musa

This morning in the Supreme Court, the case against Belize Water Services Ltd., in a lawsuit filed by a group of six former employees of the utility company, commenced before Justice Michelle Arana.  Mark Menzies, Colin Morrison, Don Gillett, Michael Novelo, Journett McKoy and Charlette Barnett were fired from BWS in February 2013.  They contend that they were all wrongfully terminated for their alleged involvement in the dissemination of malicious and salacious letters about other members of staff.  BWS, on the other hand, insists that the redundancies were the result of company downsizing, an exercise which began five years prior.  Shortly after ten o’clock, Mark Menzies was called to the dock where he was cross examined by Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams.  Representing the terminated workers is attorney Said Musa.

 

Said Musa, Attorney for Mark Menzies

“They were wrongfully terminated, all of them and the company is maintaining that they were released on grounds of redundancy when in fact their clear assertion is that they were terminated wrongfully based on some investigation at the company [that] people were carrying out concerning letters that were circulating attacking staff members and they were being accused, investigated and as a result they were wrongfully terminated.” 

 

Reporter

“So your clients are seeking damages from [the company?]”

 

Said Musa

“They are seeking damages for wrongful termination, wrongful dismissal of their jobs.  In the case of my client for instance, Mark Menzies, he’s been there going on thirty-three years at the time when he was terminated on the grounds of redundancy and yet shortly after, as the case would show eventually that his job was replaced by others.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, what’s the relevance of the discussion just now pertaining to the qualifications of the various persons in the lab unit?”

 

Said Musa

“Well they were trying to show that he was made redundant because of, that they were trying to improve efficiency, that was their whole line of questioning, not taking into account the fact that [there was] this man’s years of experience on the job right.”

 

Reporter

“And we know that internally at the time there was some difficulties in the company and management wanted to isolate people.  Do you feel that at the end of the day these people were lied to when they were told that they were being made redundant when in fact they had, by some means, been singled out in some sort of administrative inquiry into who was talking about who?”

 

Said Musa

“You put it much better than I just did.  In fact, they were victimized, all of them, and wrongfully terminated and that issue of redundancy, in our view, was just to paper over it because, you know, you can legally terminate people for redundancy and so the company is hiding behind that.”

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