Former Cayman Brac Senior Labor Inspector Sandra Solomon is suing the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration, claiming that she has been subject to an unwarranted workplace investigation, and that she suffers ongoing depression and anxiety as a result.
In her writ against government, Ms. Solomon states that in March 2014, a business operator made an unfounded complaint against her. She was placed on leave soon thereafter.
“Without following the process required by legislation in investigating complaints, the director of Labour and Pension (DLP) decided that the Plaintiff’s actions amounted to serious misconduct and a warning was given on March 30, 2015,” Ms. Solomon states in her claim.
Later in 2015, the Civil Service Appeals Commission overturned the disciplinary actions taken against Ms. Solomon and ordered her to be reinstated to her post, according to her claim, which is posted on the financial services site OffshoreAlert.
However, the Department of Labour and Pensions opened up a new investigation and disciplinary process in February 2016 to overcome the failures the Civil Service Appeals Commission identified in the first investigation.
Ms. Solomon remains under investigation, according to her November 2018 claim.
Specific mistreatment allegedly suffered by the Brac labor officer includes being “treated with disdain” after the complaint and after she challenged the disciplinary action against her.
“She was removed from her employment and place of employment in such a distraughtly manner, namely without time to gather herself and personal items, with force as though she was a criminal,” Ms. Solomon’s claim states. “She was prevented from returning to her place of employment to collect her personal belonging, such as photos of her grandchildren, until 2016/17 and even then, she had to ask a member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to attend with her.”
Ms. Solomon added that her employer retained her office furniture that she bought and used after Hurricane Paloma destroyed the department facilities in November 2008.
In light of this alleged mistreatment, Ms. Solomon said she first took sick leave in April 2015. She then saw her private doctor and further sick leave was granted, and continues to the date of her claim.
“Further, on June 21, 2016, the HSA diagnosed the Plaintiff with depression and anxiety and that such symptoms are thought to be due to unresolved tensions at work which made her work environment psychologically unfavourable,” Ms. Solomon’s claim states. “At this point the Plaintiff appreciated the significance of her injuries and its cause.”
Ms. Solomon is seeking damages for future loss of earnings and for “her becoming handicapped on the labour market,” as well as about $34,000 for her expenditure in relation to “purchase of furniture and running of DLP office from her home after Hurricane Paloma.”
Government, for its part, told the Compass that it plans to file its defense to the lawsuit on Jan. 14.
The Ministry of Human Resources, which is currently responsible for the Department of Labour and Pensions, also confirmed that Ms. Solomon has been on medical leave, and that she has been paid “full remuneration” for the last 44 months.
“Discussions to amicably resolve these issues have been ongoing and the possibility of a transfer for the Plaintiff is being considered,” the ministry stated.