Judges of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) sitting in Dominica have reserved their decision in the appeal case of Michel Williams against the National Bank of Dominica (NBD).
The appeals court dealt with the matter on Tuesday.
In February 2011 Justice Brian Cottle ruled that Williams was properly dismissed from the NBD.
In his ruling at the time he said “the Claimant sought, inter alia special damages in the sum of EC$2,113,114.00. I take this to be the value of the claim. I award the defendant (NBD) prescribed cost on this amount. If my arithmetic is correct, this amounts to EC$99,894.42.”
Williams appealed the matter and his lawyer Steven Fraser argued that the company (the bank) had specific bylaws for managerial staff like Williams and it was clear that those who drafted them did so with a clear intention to protect employees like (Williams) from unfair dismissal.
“The board had no power to dismiss without cause under the bylaws…we are asking the court to rule as to whether damages are recoverable for breach of contract,” Fraser told the court.
He stated that Williams’ contract was excluded from the Protection of Employment Act of Dominica and that the terms of the contract provided for a renewal at all times.
“They breached the implied terms of trust and confidence in the contract,” Fraser argued.
In response NBD attorney Alick Lawrence told the court that the contract made provisions for “illness” and the clause “by no fault” has strengthen the hands of the employer.
He said Williams’ allegation that he was “victimized by then manager Gregory Degannes” was unfounded.
“When one looks at the evidence, Williams was of the view that he was the victim of a criminal enterprise of Degannes as it relates to a loan he (Degannes) wanted but that was denied,” Lawrence said.
He told the court that the decision to dismiss Williams was not that of Degannes but was done by “the board.”
“There are no allegations that the board was controlled by Degannes, the board was independent,” the NBD lawyer told the court.