Employers using Hurricane Maria to lay off workers Labour Commissioner says

Leblanc said employers are laying off workers in ways that are inconsistent with the law

Labour Commissioner Dr. Matthew Leblanc has said some employers in Dominica are using Hurricane Maria as an excuse to lay off workers in a manner that is inconsistent with the laws.

He made the comment in an interview with state-owned DBS Radio.

“In many cases, we realize that employers are using the pretext of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria not only to relieve themselves of certain workers or to sever the employment relationship that has been established with certain workers but do it in a manner that is not consistent with the law,” he stated.

He said that such practice is against the laws of Dominica.

“That is unlawful and wrongful in the sense that many employers are causing workers to cease activity by saying that the workers themselves have terminated their employment,” he stated.

Leblanc pointed out that the island’s laws dictate that no employee terminates their own employment except by resignation.

“If an employer considers that an employee for some reason has been absent from work, as much as the employee has a responsbility to report to work, if that employee has not reported to work then the employer should take certain steps to at least find out from the employee or the employee’s family why the employee is not at work and should not resort to immediate termination of employment, accusing the employee of having abandoned their work until they have taken steps to ensure that the employee for one reason or the other was not at work,” he stated.

He said in many cases employers did not communicate clearly with their workers or there were ambiguities in their communication, leaving them in limbo.

“As a result of that the employees are not sure they are to be working or not, whether they ought to come to work or not and if they do not show up to work, all of a sudden the employers accused them of having abandoned their post but have not in fact officially summoned them to work or indicated there was supposed to be work,” he remarked.

Leblanc said the matter is of serious concern to the Labour Department.

He also stated that after Hurricane Maria, many employers have used their workers to clean their facilities and the Labour Department is concerned about it.

“If the employer requires assistance from the employees, the employer can ask for assistance but to assume that the workers all of a sudden become a labourer or a person who is removing debris and using the spade and the pickax to dig out dirt from your business place is unfair and unjust because it does not fall in the work contract or job description of the employee,” he said. “And most of the employers pay the employees the same wage as if they were coming to work on a regular basis and it was business as usual whereas they are merely using the employees to clean up their place and then after they tell them to go home.”

Leblanc said the Labour Department is looking very closely at the situation and will be investigating every report and bring respective parties to dialogue before it goes to arbitration or litigation.

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of DominicaNewsOnline.com/Duravision Inc. All comments are approved by DominicaNewsOnline.com before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • a reasonable person would consider abusive or profane
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-topic

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. Big Bannan
    December 9, 2017

    Them employee should find a way to alert the employee of their status . Not the other way around .

  2. I am my brother's keeper
    December 8, 2017

    The problem is not what the companies are doing but how they are doing it. Employees expect to be laid off and made redundant because they understand what is going on however, some employers do not use any ethical method to determine who they are laying off; for example last in – first out. Instead, they sit at round tables trying to “get-rid” of employees who they do not particularly like and IT IS WRONG! If an employee has performance or conduct issues, the law provides guidance on how to deal with such issues, they would be within their rights if they do it the right way. Stop blaming looting and lack of government intervention for poor behaviors. These same employers who are laying off employees will still hold Christmas parties and give bonuses. We ought to learn to treat people how we want our kids to be treated.


    • Barbara Saunders
      December 8, 2017

      Agreed brother!

    December 8, 2017

    Dominicans like to focus on other people too much but never look at themselves.

    Everything they have to say is about someone else!!

    December 8, 2017

    Construction is booming… dark cloud silver lining.
    Thats what people do, they shift their skills to where its needed in the economy.
    understand the economy, have discussions on what the trends are, don’t just depend on government, get the contractors to establish proper administration (secretaries), equipment purchase (procurement & accounting), contract negotiation. worker and business supplies etc etc etc.

    • viewsexpressed
      December 9, 2017

      You really not ready yet….When last you looked at yourself and really had a good look at your hypocrisy in the corrupt politics of this corru0t Labour Government.
      Constructions is not the end to development, you clown, it is decency, good and sustainability jobs and deccny in governed that brigs god government. This labour government f yours is corrupt , big tie and Skerrit must Go.

  5. Truth
    December 8, 2017

    Can’t you guys see that the looting was allowed to go on for as long as it did
    How could police officers be sent out there on armed to stop looters but they came to
    Saulsbri well loaded with tear gas m sixteen and fully gare up on a small village just
    Asking for some body to hear there cry. So now that the private sector is destroyed
    They now have come and beg daddy pm for help so he can decided who to give help
    And who not to give Its all about staying in Power not love of country.

  6. Fbother
    December 8, 2017

    But all those employers that laying off persons are skerite blind supporters or them heartless chines that paying pple next to nothing a day to work.. wicked set of pple… the persons that should be layed of are skerite and blackmore .. Carbon chief of police and the other one .Those people have failed our country. . The chief went on radio and talked tough and there was looting for a whole week even on a Sunday. . And u telling me that chief ND deputy goin to continue in there position after this Gros incompetence? In any real country those pple there have to pay a price for that.. now u talking bout peopl getting layed off? u have skerite now coming up with a new moto dubbed ” first climate resilient country” this man does not want to leave office and I can’t understand why all past ministers came in office and resign but this man thinks that this country is his estate..and I don’t know if he realizes that under his adminitration there has been the most death, disasters n…

  7. December 7, 2017

    Be careful ” THE BOYS AND THEM” you are using the TITLE of Dominica’ Musical Foundation to put your case across, say what you want, the onus is on Dominicans to, or not boycott these callous business places. Why don’t Dominicans show their power by withholding spending in those evil minded enterprises?

  8. Shameless
    December 7, 2017

    Dayclarwayyy them Matthew. Is the same business owners that were getting thousands of our passport money as subsidies before Maria . If I was askerrit I would make police arrest all of the business owners that lay off people regardless :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . Laybarr ka twavayeee! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: You love your PM nun?

    Assertive like LL! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 8, 2017

      Bob Denis and Shameless

      I always had a sneaky feeling that the looting which went on and the “callous” things which were done to the business places had much more to do with anger and resentment against the success of business than with hunger or need.

      I guess you have both articulated the situation well and I guess you are speaking for a number of others. What you all didn’t bargain for though was the fall out which would have resulted from the attack on the businesses in that at the end of the line would be your brothers and sisters, cousins and friends out of job.

      Even if , for the sake of argument, one of the businesses whose building was ravaged and almost obliterated wanted to continue the employment of staff where would they put them to work and what would they be selling when their goods were stolen and stacked up at people’s homes?

      As far as I can see, Maria took a lot but not your jealousy and hatred. Go on folks but we must learn one of those good days.

      • viewsexpressed
        December 9, 2017

        “………with anger and resentment against the success of business than with hunger or need…..” Sandra, are you a clown, I’m denial? Do you live in Dominica or you are faking news.?”
        The success (in other words financial profit/gain Business in Dominica)/

        I would rather that some people who knows nothing of the status of socio-economic situation in Dominica before and after Maria to really shut up and go discover the reality of this nature isle of ours. If it is this corrupt Leader PM Skerrit and his corrupt Labour government you are promoting and blindly supporting, please excuse yourself from this debate.
        Skerrit and his corrupt government Must Go. We have endured poverty enough.

  9. December 7, 2017

    Dr. Leblanc is way off track. What is wrong with employees helping to clean up? Employers got a huge hit from Maria let us not forget the looting. Mr. Leblanc Dominica was destroyed by a category 5 hurricane the few business that are struggling to open is not a sign of normalcy.

    • dee
      December 8, 2017

      Is it off track of Mr. Leblanc to expose the exploitation of Employees by their Employers under the guise of conscientious help cleaning , digging, shoveling sh*t.
      Yes Maria hit all of us in some measure or another , but Maria did not take all our rights away; we still have rights, and there is no way ”We” as a people, should allow any slavery practices to be re enacted. Help is help , work is work , dont just think because of Maria it is mandatory that we come and do all the cleaning in the work place . No way , no way no way , we have our d*mn home to clean too , which do you think should be my priority ?
      Allu want to start a trouble, sack us unfairly .

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 8, 2017

      I guess Dr. Leblanc is saying employees stay at your homes. Employers, miraculously find other workers who themselves had their homes damaged to come and clean up the desks and tables where these employees work. Tidy up their computers and other equipment. Put away the papers they were working on. Wipe their chairs and cash registers. Pack the shelves with goods. Get an army of janitors and cleaners from somewhere who were not affected by Maria, perhaps from Montserrat or Trinidad. Get the work places spotless and shining.

      Next assignment is to hire taxis and buses and a new set of staff to go to the homes of the incumbent employees in Paix Bouche; Boetica; San Sauveur; Newtown etc. to find out why those prized employees did not show up to see whether their jobs were still available. Then go to a money basket which NBD has standing at the entrance take a couple bags full, pay those additional people whom you hired then call in the incumbents for their pay cheques.

      • viewsexpressed
        December 9, 2017

        Barbara, Please get lost, you are of no hep. You thoughts are sickening and out of perspective. You are insulting our people and our limited institutions, struggling to survive and function under the worse government ever in Dominica. they are very corrupt and ust go.

      • Barbara Saunders
        December 11, 2017

        Views expressed
        Unfortunately for you people like me with a different perspective form your hate-filled gang will not get lost. You see, we have a right to be here too and to pray for the protection of our country. I see that we are back to the one topic conversation for every situation and issue. “The government must go”.

        You are entitled to your opinion about the government and whether they must go. I am entitled to ask and when they go as perhaps they should, who or what is to replace them? The bad-mouthers who have nothing positive to show so that I can look forward to something better if they come?

        So many of them are sitting on their behinds waiting on tax payer parliamentary salaries; running their mouths about everything and anything but cannot show in a practical way how they can create a job for themselves far less for me and you? Have you seriously thought about that?

        Have you thought about where we would have been had they been in office after Maria?

  10. The boys and them
    December 7, 2017

    The employers of Dominica must not be blamed for the problems of Dominica because they are the ones that suffered. The looters of Maria Must be blamed for this Mr. Leblanc! The looters and their heads used Maria to destroy our business places. My problem is, why is no one going after the looters? If the government authorizes me to find the looters I would gladly do so FREE of charge because all we have to do is identify the heads those employees that are employed by their boss and move on from there until the nest is destroyed. It’s easy. I can see the trend. I don’t know who but I can see the same people that set airport equipment on fire in 2014, is the same group that set GON Emanuel house on fire, is the same ones that set Roseau on fire on February 7th, after a uwp rally, where several business places were vandalized and looted, and no doubt same gang responsible for the looting after Maria. Like I said, I don’t know who but by following the trend I can see the same prints.

    • Paul Rossnof
      December 8, 2017

      You ask why nobody is going after the looters, because the ones that are supposed to go after them did do most of the looting. And the remaining rest was done by these DLP operatives that are selling generators, solar chargers and other items donated by China from the abandoned public works site in Layou. This island is one corrupt immoral place if I have ever seen one.

  11. The boys and them
    December 7, 2017

    These people are heartless. When their business places were looted what did the labor commissioner say? But you see, what we have going on is a VielleCase team that was carefully put in place to protect Skerrit, who in turn will protect them. First, it was Skerrit’ that described what he saw at the Labor Department as “Racketeering”. But did he ask Carbon who is from Vielle Case to investigate it? No, he asked Matthew, a fellow villager to fix it. Then National Security Minister Blackmore indicated that the leadership of the police is incompetent. But Skerrit came in defense of Carbon and said he hired Carbon and he is satisfied with him. What we have is Carbon, Matthew, Ricky Brumant, Helen Royer, Gloria Joseph and others, all with VielleCase connection, we’re put in place to defend Skerrit no matter how evil the man is. So I am not at all surprised that Commissioner decides to attack the business owners in defense of a failed Daniel Carbon and Skerrit. He has no choice

  12. Roosie
    December 7, 2017

    Whoa! Is this an attack on the private sector? The government of Dominica did nothing to prevent thieves, criminals and people in high office, including an animal Talk-Show host from looting, vandalizing and stealing from the local businesses. Now that workers are out of jobs and businesses are closed you who are paid by the tax payers want to jail the employers who lost their investments?
    The private sector is screaming for help and an investigation for the crimes committed against them and this is the best that you can do?
    The Prime Minister meets with everybody, except the business people who lost their properties.

  13. 4Eva tru
    December 7, 2017

    Well they themselves were looting their own work place.

  14. Shameless Thing
    December 7, 2017

    Mista has more guts than cast guts. First of all, they hiding all the country’s funds in a cookie jar and they expect employers to shake the money tree that the government gave to them to plant in their backyards to pay their employees. Saquay laban *********. Let me hush. I use to think that thieves are those who break and open peoples homes and business places but that isn’t so. Sah say bagai eh. You will understand my Creole; I did not attend college like my pm stated, that by 2012, all household will have at least one college graduate. Now that I’ve graduated on my own pocket, I’m awaiting employment.

  15. My little take
    December 7, 2017

    It’s a shame but can I really blame them? I mean Maria reduced our small population by at least 20, 000 people which means 20,000 fewer people to serve. Then we must not forget the fact that the employers too got heat and as a result they have to cut cost; plus places like Ross University that had so many Dominicans earning a dollar, is closed. That’s why I believe the 25,000 people that will be getting money for 3 months, would be in Dominica’s best interest if they had worked with some employers so they could employ some people.

  16. Looking
    December 7, 2017

    Ok Dr Mathew points taken. One point you should have mentioned though, Many employers have used the employees to clean their facilities. I am aware that government workers were asked to do that also. All in all good points, but its rough for employers, it was already rough pre-Mariah. I feel for the unemployed.

  17. December 7, 2017

    OH really, while we at it can we get some customer service training please, every store you go to in the U.S. A or Canada the cashier greet you with good day , hello how you doing in D.A they act like they are doing you a favor by taking you money.

    • Dominican
      December 7, 2017

      I blame the employers for that. They are the ones who employ people that present an image of their business to the public. An employer blaming bad staff is running his business back to front as far as I am concerned. Hire the right people in the first place and if not available make sure they are at least presentable and have potential. There is no harm in seeing to it that they are properly trained. I see it as a positive investment for any business that cares about good customer relationships and image.

  18. More Fire!
    December 7, 2017

    Such a shame, and to think hurricane Maria would have change the “people”. But hey, more Maria’s to come for the wicked ones…………..More fire……………

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 7, 2017

      Mr. Leblanc

      There is no need for arbitration or litigation you have already made a judgement against employers based on a one-sided report from an aggrieved employee or employees. Your statement is most irresponsible given your position. The laws apply equally to employers as employees.

      The employer must go and look for the employee who does not show up at work? Doesn’t the law require action by the employee if unable to attend work? How does that become the responsibility of the employer?

      don’t you find Mr. Leblanc that the business community which has taken risks to provide employment for Dominicans have taken enough blows? they are now getting bureaucratic looting?

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        December 7, 2017

        You see Barbara, some people with all their degrees, and like to be called Dr., the majority of them does not have any commonsense. That guy should be happy that some people are still able to get up and go to some place to work.

        What are the employers suppose to do if they do not have the money to pay the people they employed.
        It a business: the owner can only pay people to work when the business is making money!

        We do not have any manufacturing industries in the country manufacturing and exporting goods bring revenue into the country, and into some company pocket, the few stores employing a few people, business are all but dead, where are the owners suppose to get the money from to pay workers, when they do not manufacture money?

        If I am a medical doctor, and nobody comes in for visits and treatment, in order to pay me, I have to go out of business, cause I would not be able to pay me; I myself: you don’t keep people around when you can’t pay them!

      • Barbara Saunders
        December 8, 2017

        Yes Francisco
        for some strange reason we seem to be on the same wave length lately.

        What the gentleman is saying in essence is that the nurses should have stayed at their homes till the Matron came to look for them. Those at work should not have tried to assist in transferring patients from one part of the damaged hospital to the next after A CATEGORY 5 hurricane because that is not their job.

        The much cursed out Policemen should have stayed at home until the Commissioner came to look for them. Firemen should have done the same. The security officers where Mr. Leblanc works should not have reported to prevent the looters from coming up the stairs to grab his laptop and other goodies.

        Mr. Leblanc’s staff from every part of Dominica should not have reported and he should then have gone to look for them or better still, he should not have reported himself so his PS would have to go search him out.

        Just see how ridiculous his statement is getting by the minute?

      • John Brown
        December 8, 2017

        Dont twist it. Thats not what was meant. All he is saying is that if one is not at work dont just fire the person before seeking further information. Imagine you turn ill for a week, then return to work to find out you were fired.

      • Barbara Saunders
        December 8, 2017

        John Brown
        I am not twisting anything. Mr. Leblanc spoke in English I think. Trump is the only person I know of who says things and someone else has to explain what he meant. Right now he is even writing things and saying it is lawyer’s words.

        If you were ill for a week, don’t you have a responsibility to notify your employer? The law that guides the behaviour of the employer also guides yours as an employee. Do you really expect to sit at your home for a week even assuming you are really ill and the employer must simply wait for you to turn up with a reason for your absence? Your colleagues must also do their work and yours to make money to pay you?

        I am very sure that an employer would recognise a genuine case and deal with it accordingly. You see this conversation which is emerging? Look for the result down the road. You see how shocked everybody was about the looting? That is not a sudden occurrence that is a build up of negativity, hate and jealousy.

  19. Neutral
    December 7, 2017

    Nonsense Leblanc, one cannot avoid to pay there employees because there is no money to pay them. We were looted out of everything we had, You should be grateful that you could go back to a job.

  20. Paul Rossnof
    December 7, 2017

    Once again it shows us and it comes from the horses mouth this time, that Dominica is law less society. Nobody should be surprised though since we all remember Skerrit saying: no law and no constitution can stop me… I guess what’s good enough for the PM of the country is good enough for everyone else!!!

    • Dominican
      December 7, 2017

      And who is going to take the offending employers to court? Not the employees I suggest because Dominica being such a small society such “troublemakers” will be shunned by other potential employers. Mr. LeBlanc’s dept. could take care of their cases on their behalf but I doubt he would get the backing from the P.M. on that one.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available