Court awards former site manager €9,000 for unfair dismissal

A former site manager has received €8,824 in compensation from the construction company which terminated his employment after an industrial tribunal ruled it was a dismissal abusive.

The job ended before the project he was working on was finished.

The court, presided over by Joseph Gerada, ordered Ta’ Kandja Construction Ltd to compensate Anthony Gambin, 64, after learning that the project he was working on was still incomplete, six months after his dismissal.

Despite the construction company’s assertion that the work was complete, the court noted that the evidence before it showed that the plastering, tiling and finishing work was still in progress, and was remained for at least six months after the man’s employment ended.

Another man working on the site had testified that at the time Gambin was fired, although the building was finished, there were still rooms to be plastered and still lacked tiling.

Gambin had worked with the company since 2018, having been hired on an open-ended contract to oversee the construction of a detox center for young drug addicts for Caritas Malta.

In January 2021, the director of Ta’ Kandja Construction, Renato Vidal, had informed Gambin that he was fired because the works had been completed. Gambin filed the suit, arguing that was not the case.

His job as site supervisor was to log every person and vehicle entering Ta’ Kandja’s construction compound and report on construction materials and facilities. This involved filling out forms given to him by a Construct Furniture employee, who was supposed to make sure supplies weren’t stolen. There had never been any reports of thefts, he said, but directors Renato Vidal and Simon Muscat told him to investigate some thefts and find out who was responsible.

Gambin told the court he was unaware of any theft, let alone who was behind it. He claimed that his employers suspected him of covering up for the thief and got rid of him by dismissing him, claiming that there was no more work to be done on the site.

The court, in view of the evidence which showed that the project was clearly not completed at the time of Gambin’s dismissal, granted the claim and condemned the plaintiff’s former employer to pay him €8,824 in compensation.

Attorney David Gatt appeared for the man.