DEF accuses Labour Commissioner of “having questionable motives” for recent statement

DEF Executive Director, Achille Joseph

Executive Director of the Dominica Employers’ Federation and Governor with the Dominica Business Forum, Achille Chris Joseph, has ascribed “questionable motives” to a recent statement by the  Labour Commissioner which he says was very likely driven by a certain complaint made by an employee at a medical facility.

“The Commissioner takes employers to task for allegedly using Hurricane Maria as a reason to sever the employment of employees in a manner which is inconsistent with the law. But the Commissioner, in the next sentence, obligates the employer to inquire into an absent employee’s whereabouts. This is also inconsistent with the law. It may be good HR practice, but there is no such legislated obligation on an employer,” Joseph stated in a DEF release. “So, it does not come across as genuine when the Labour Commissioner chides employers for taking action which is inconsistent with the law, and at the same time he recommends a certain alternative action which itself is inconsistent with the law.”

Joseph noted that it is the responsibility of every employee to show up for work at the time and place designated and, if he cannot do so, he has to provide an acceptable explanation to his employer or send in a certificate of ill health.

“Where neither is done, the employment relationship becomes ‘frustrated’, and ‘frustration’ is a ground for termination of a contract.  An employee can, therefore, terminate his own employment by ‘frustration’.  This doctrine is also known as ‘prolonged absenteeism’ or ‘constructive resignation’.  It is not the responsibility of an employer to make phone calls every time an employee does not show up for work”, the DEF official argued.

“Following the Hurricane, there were massive cleaning, restoration and recovery to be done at all business places.  Many employers utilised their workers in the cleaning rather than lay them off and hire a cleaning crew,” Joseph said.  “It would be ill-advised for an employer who had his goods looted and his property destroyed, and with no income, to keep his workers on payroll and still hire a cleaning crew.”

Joseph described “outburst” of the Labour Commissioner is the most recent in a trend of hostile posturing by the public sector. He said the local private sector continues to note the hostility of the public sector toward business, industry and enterprise.

“The Police failed us; the Government refuses to acknowledge and respond to our communications, and now, the Division of Labour is looking for a fight with us. Once again, the public sector declares war on enterprise,” Joseph declared.

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15 Comments

  1. I'M NOT A PRIME MISTAKE!!!
    December 11, 2017

    I totally agree with you Mr.Joseph! These political cabal appointees always singing in the wrong tone! It’s the employee’s responsibility to reach out to their employer whenever they can’t report to work,this is how it’s done in every country,else you lose your job! This present rogues posing as government and those representing them,always prove their incompetence!!!

  2. Jonathan Y St Jean
    December 11, 2017

    Mr Joseph is right in refuting the irresponsible statement by the labour commissioner,which suggests that the private sector is irresponsible and they should keep holding unto staff even if they have no goods to sell.When I read the comments of the labour commissioner I found it disturbing,so thanks to Mr Joseph for clarifying that there is no such law.The labour commissioner doesn’t know his job and he is repeating the sentiment expressed by Skerritt,who can’t seem to get the socialist model out of his system.The reason for private business is to maximize profits not be like government which seeks to impress the electorate with the largesse of the state coffers so they vote for it at the next election and the next after that. I am waiting to hear the views of the unions on the matter even if I support Mr Joseph’s view point thus the view of the private sector

  3. December 11, 2017

    well said dad. Well said

  4. John paul
    December 11, 2017

    The Police have failed!
    Say no more

  5. Talker
    December 11, 2017

    Too much talk talk and talk…The DEF and Labour Commission just full of talk talk talk..no action! Quit talking and get to work jeeze!

  6. Frank
    December 11, 2017

    An employee can, therefore, terminate his own employment by ‘frustration’. This doctrine is also known as ‘prolonged absenteeism’ or ‘constructive resignation’.

    So with all that destruction you all looking for employees to give u an explanation where there is no electricity road block..no phone… I mean you people talking bout the law..the law makes allowances for discretion to be used.. you firing someone in a disaster like that predictated on the fact that they have not reached out to the employer? What if they can’t get to them on time.. when your say prolonged how long? That constructive resignation sir does not apply in a disaster like that .. I believe that the employer should wait a certain amount of time let’s say 2 months or a reasonable time when such communication or road access is back is back before it is labeled as a “constructive resignation.” Therr must be a guilty mind or blatant attempt to skip work. Or blatant failure to get in contact with the employer

  7. Deeyezhaveit
    December 10, 2017

    Everybody knows you are a mouth peicx for those blue pinez Achille do not come here talking like you partial….

    • Paul Rossnof
      December 11, 2017

      And you are clearly a signed up member of the Red Clinic (professional DLP begging club)

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 11, 2017

      Good response except for the personal inferences. I was wondering where the DEF was after that inappropriate “attack” by a public servant. Very inappropriate I might add considering his role to objectively manage conciliation between employer and employee in disputes.

      At the end of the day, all people in positions of authority have to watch what they say, not just the Prime Minister. It is a major faux pas on the part of the Labour Commissioner to place the onus on the employer for employee absenteeism.

      Of course, the exploitation of employees is not to be condoned but my concern is the possibility of creating antagonistic attitudes among some employees who hitherto were co-operative and supportive recognising that employment is a two way street. Some Employers have also been going above and beyond the legal requirements to motivate employees. To come now and give employees the impression that they have no responsibility for keeping their jobs is most unfortunate.

    • Breathe
      December 11, 2017

      As usual – ignore the message and kill the messenger

  8. Roosie
    December 10, 2017

    Thanks Achille Joseph, a perfect response to an idiot. The private sector should wake up and smell the coffee. Where is the DAIC? I understand that the DAIC chief run with her children since the hurricane and has not been back.

  9. SN
    December 10, 2017

    Good response, Achille. I had the same thoughts.

  10. Channel 1
    December 10, 2017

    “Following the Hurricane, there were massive cleaning, restoration and recovery to be done at all business places. Many employers utilised their workers in the cleaning rather than lay them off and hire a cleaning crew,” Joseph said. “It would be ill-advised for an employer who had his goods looted and his property destroyed, and with no income, to keep his workers on payroll and still hire a cleaning crew.”

    Agree totally.

  11. Neverson st jean
    December 10, 2017

    Based on your observation what are u going to do about it, nothing as usual. That’s why thi govt has been able to get away with so much,. Only in dominica

  12. UKDominican
    December 10, 2017

    Come out with it mr. Joseph. Don’t be bashful, the government failed you too.

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