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Foreign Office employee loses compensation case



A Foreign Office clerk who sued the state for $167,000 in financial losses after her job was realigned will now have to pay the costs because she lost her claim.

Theresa Hope had complained that she lost gratuities, 75 days annual leave and bargaining opportunities when her job was changed.

In an oral decision after a short virtual trial on Friday, Judge Frank Seepersad denied Hope’s claim, accepting the state’s assertion that she was not entitled to the gratuity or any of the benefits she was seeking. .

She testified at trial.

Hope previously worked as a pension and leave preparation officer at the department on two three-year contracts from 2008. In 2013, she was placed on a month-to-month contract while the department awaited Cabinet approval to standardize positions. .

Once approved, Hope was offered the position of Business Operations Assistant I for three years with the same salary of $6,800. It was in 2016.

Hope declined the offer as it was an entry-level position and not in line with his years of service and experience. She continued to work in the post from month to month.

Seepersad said it was clear that the duties Hope performed were clerical and administrative and fell within the Department of Personnel’s policy intent, identified in a 2013 circular memorandum, to realign civil service positions.

The judge said that decision was up to the director of personnel, as the ministry had no authority to offer contracts with gratuities.

He said it was well within the executive’s remit to adopt a policy to move away from hiring large numbers of people on a permanent basis by offering contract jobs, and that should be understood and appreciated.

“It is part of the administrative authority exercised by the executive. Individual contract holders should understand that the contracts are not specific to them.

He said the evidence showed that the post of Pension and Leave Preparation Officer had been phased out after the 2013 memorandum and that the post had been standardized, with the post of Business Operations Officer being the new name.

“The court can see the rationale for this action to create uniformity of positions in various departments to address the unique nuances in the respective departments,” he said, finding Hope’s claim to be without merit.

She was represented by attorney Nigel Floyd. Attorneys Zara Smith and Nadine Nabbie represented the Attorney General.