SINT MAARTEN: Dismissed because of a fight for which he was not responsible

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On May 8, the boss of a store in the Dutch side sent a letter of dismissal to one of his employees on the grounds that the latter had a fight with a cutter in the workplace. The employee will challenge the decision of his employer, ask for 15 dollars in compensation and go to the Sint Maarten court.

He asserts that the termination is irregular because it took place without respecting the legal notice period, without valid reason and that he is therefore entitled to compensation.

In order to decide, the court will first seek to understand the causes of the fight. He will thus view the images of the surveillance cameras. They show that an altercation took place between the said employee and one of his colleagues and that the latter is the first to get angry. Another colleague arrives to try to calm the two men; the employee in question takes out his cutter (work tool) then put it away immediately. Other colleagues arrive to overpower the two men; the colleague is still nervous, doing boxing moves.

The court deduced from this that the statement of the facts as alleged by the boss of the company "is not correct": even if the employee took part in a fight, he was not at the origin of its outbreak. and did not threaten his colleague with his cutter. The judges consider that the dismissal is irregular and abusive and order the employer to pay two indemnities of 8 Naf (100 USD) each; 4 Naf corresponding to three months' salary.

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