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Veera Bhajan wins case against Equal Opportunity Tribunal

Equal Op­por­tu­ni­ty Tri­bunal (EOT) lay as­ses­sor Veera Bha­jan has won her law­suit against the tri­bunal and its Chair­man Don­na Prow­ell-Raphael over re­peat­ed moves to block her from tak­ing up her ap­point­ment.

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 De­liv­er­ing a judge­ment, a short while ago, High Court Judge Ava­son Quin­lan-Williams ruled that the tri­bunal and Prow­ell-Raphael act­ed il­le­gal­ly and in breach of their re­mit in block­ing Bha­jan from be­gin­ning work af­ter she was ap­point­ed by Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes in March.

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 In ad­di­tion to is­su­ing de­c­la­ra­tions against the tri­bunal and Prow­ell-Raphael, Quin­lan-Williams or­dered that Bha­jan be paid her salary and ben­e­fits which were with­held since March, plus in­ter­est.

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 The tri­bunal and Prow­ell-Raphael were al­so or­dered to pay $100,000 in dam­ages for the dis­tress and em­bar­rass­ment they caused her. Jus­tice Quin­lan-Williams al­so or­dered $250,000 in vin­di­ca­to­ry dam­ages to high­light the court’s strong feel­ings over what tran­spired in the case. 

“There ought to be a sense of pub­lic out­rage over what oc­curred,” Quin­lan-Williams said, as she de­scribed the at­tempts to block the ap­point­ment as dis­turb­ing and off-putting. 

In a press re­lease is­sued mo­ments af­ter Jus­tice Quin­lan-Williams’ judge­ment, the tri­bunal said it ac­cept­ed the de­ci­sion. 

“The Tri­bunal re­spects the rul­ing of the Ho­n­ourable Court and will meet with its at­tor­neys to de­ter­mine its next steps. The Tri­bunal looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to serve the cit­i­zens of T&T,” it said. 

Re­porter: Derek Achong

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