Company ordered to pay severance

No threat of imprisonment for director in lieu of payment

Aralco Cayman Ltd. has been sentenced for failure to comply with an order of the Labour Tribunal to pay an employee $11,970 as severance pay. 

The money is to be paid in monthly installments of $665, to be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. 

The tribunal’s order was made in August 2013 and the matter was first in court on April 1, 2014. 

Winston Salmon, a director of the company, appeared on its behalf and, after five more court appearances, entered a plea of not guilty. The basis for the plea was apparently a belief that notice of appeal against the Labour Tribunal’s order had been filed within the 14 days allowed by the Labour Law. This turned out to be not true, and in December 2014 a guilty plea was entered. 

By this time the company was represented by an attorney, who proposed a schedule of payments. Three months later, however, no payments had been made. The attorney cited a conflict of interest and was given permission to come off record. 

On June 30, 2015, Magistrate Philippa McFarlane passed sentence of 30 days’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. Failure to pay the compensation would result in a term of imprisonment, she warned. 

Last week the matter was rescheduled for a clarification of sentence. The magistrate advised the company director that after the Crown had withdrawn some of the charges, the only charge that remained “live” was the one against the company, not against any person. 

“That means I was unable to impose any custodial sentence,” she explained. On that basis, any period of imprisonment was voided. Compensation is still due, she pointed out, and it is to be paid through the court funds office in monthly installments.