Employees unfortunately may face dismissal from employment after suffering injuries on the job in The Bahamas. If you have just lost your job, you may be dismayed, confused, and wondering about your rights.
Under Bahamian law, you have the right not to be unfairly or wrongfully dismissed from your employment. An employee who is fired soon after he or she suffers from on-the-job injuries could have a claim for unfair and/or wrongful dismissal depending on the circumstances. Courts or the Industrial Tribunal must evaluate whether on the substantial merits of the case, the dismissal was unfair or wrongful. Showing unfairness or wrongfulness can depend on factors such as:
- Whether the employee had an opportunity to provide his side of the story
- The employer's stated reason for the dismissal
- Circumstances and events leading up to the dismissal
- Whether the employer did an investigation
The Employment Act also provides that certain dismissals are inherently unfair. This includes dismissals made solely because of a person's disability. Moreover, employers cannot refuse employment opportunities such as promotions to disabled employees. They cannot treat them detrimentally or pay them less just because they are disabled. (Employment Act, Sections 6, 7.)
Often, workplace injuries result in permanent disabilities. A disability may or may not restrict an employee's ability to do his or her job held before the injury. When a worker who was injured returns to work, he or she may feel angry at the employer for letting the injury happen. Even worse, the employee could face discrimination or other adverse employment actions such as dismissal just because of the resulting disability.
In its defense against a claim of unfair or wrongful dismissal, an employer will try to show that a disabled person cannot be accommodated without undue hardship. If the employee accuses the employer of paying a lower wage, the employer will try to show that the job requirements were reasonable for a person with the employee's abilities. An undue hardship defense may include arguments that accommodating an employee with medical restrictions would be unsafe for other employees, impossible, or very difficult for the employer.
If you have been injured on the job and are facing retaliation, discrimination, or termination, you need to speak with a Bahamian lawyer who is knowledgeable about local employment laws. You could have a case for wrongful or unfair dismissal. There may be time limits to begin addressing your claim, so do not delay in seeking legal advice.
To find out more about dismissal from employment in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.