ST MAARTEN: Conflict at work against a background of health crisis

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Last year, the boss of two jewelers located in Philipsburg closed his shops due to the health crisis and informed his 33 employees of his desire to lay them off. Most of them accept the proposed agreements. One of the employees refuses and challenges her employer's decision in the Sint Maarten court. The court must rule on the legality of the dismissal and on the obligation to pay compensation or not.

The employee claims that her employer will reopen the shops once the crisis has passed, that is to say when the cruise passengers return. In view of the health crisis and the drop in turnover recorded since Irma's visit, the court does not share the employee's thoughts and validates the dismissal procedures.

On the other hand, he considers that compensation is due even if the employer has tried to prove that the financial health of his shops does not allow him to pay it. On reading the evidence in the case, the judges noted that the two jewelry stores belonged to a group present throughout the Caribbean. It is also observed that the boss of Sint Maarten shipped his jewelry to St Thomas in order, presumably, to take them out of his business and therefore out of his financial balance sheet.

The court considers that the employer must pay compensation in the amount of 36 dollars to the said employee. The latter also succeeded in the same court for obtaining arrears of wages that her employer had not paid her during the health crisis.

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