Home Uncategorized Tonga Supreme court rejects ex-Leiola supervisor’s wrongful dismissal claim

Tonga Supreme court rejects ex-Leiola supervisor’s wrongful dismissal claim

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The Tongan Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a claim of wrongful dismissal brought by a former sales supervisor of Leiola Group Ltd in Vava’u amid an investigation by the company into  a “significant amount of missing stock”.

The supervisor, Semisi Vaitaki, was suspended in June 2014  while an investigation was undertaken and before his employment was advised to be terminated on June 29.

However the Leiola company argued “Vaitaki was initially suspended from his employment while investigations were made into stock variances and that on around 22 July 2014 he voluntarily resigned from his employment”.

The judge, Lord Chief Justice Owen Paulsen, said: “Mr.  Vaitaki has  failed  to  prove  that  he  was  dismissed    from  his employment with Leiola and his claim must  fail”.

The court was told the Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Services, Viliami Takau, and Mr Jagjeet Chand, the Chief Operations Officer of Leiola, “discovered about TP$5,500 value of stock missing from company’s office in Vava’u”.

Mr. Vaitaki was suspended from his duties on June 20,  2014 while an investigation was undertaken.

Mr Paulsen said: “ it is clear to me  that he was told of the reason for his suspension. He was also told of the approximate value of the missing stock. He did not challenge his suspension”.

The investigation took about three months and although it appeared to be longer that normally expected of such an investigation the court was told Vaitaki had travelled overseas during that period.

On July 18 Takau emailed Mr. Vaitaki and told him that  the  amounts he owed Leiola were $4,122 for stock and $1,298 for sundries.

Takau advised  Vaitaki about the details of the amounts and said: “I’ll write to you on the weekend to let you know the decision regarding your employment”.

However no decision was ever communicated to Mr. Vaitaki about his employment before he emailed Mr. Takau on July 22, 2014 and  advised that he was travelling to the United States, the judgement said.

Vaitaki disputed the amount of the stock variances, but he appeared to accept the amount owing for sundries and said that they would sort the matter out when he returned from his travels, Mr Paulsen said.

Mr. Vaitaki confirmed that he was not told by Mr. Takau that his employment was terminated and he did not advise Mr. Takau or anyone else at Leiola when he would be returning from the United States.

When he returned Vataki did not contact  Mr. Takau or Leiola.

“He said that he opened his mail and saw that there was no contact from the company and he just stayed at home”.

“There was no evidence either of any contact by Mr. Vaitaki’s lawyer with Leiola”, Mr Paulsen said.

“It appears that the first Leiola knew of either Mr. Vaitaki’s return from overseas or his claim to have been wrongfully dismissed was when it was served with these Court proceedings in around June or July 2015

Mr.  Vaitaki  has  failed  to  prove  that  he  was wrongfully dismissed from  his employment and Mr Paulsen dismissed his claim.

Vaitaki was represented in court by Legal Counsel ‘Ofa Pouono and Dana E. Stephenson was acted for the Leiola Company.

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  1. @copyright - ʻOku tapu ke hiki tatau ʻa e ongoongoni ni ʻo pulusi ʻi ha feituʻu kehe @copyright - ʻOku tapu ke hiki tatau ʻa e ongoongoni ni ʻo pulusi ʻi ha feituʻu kehe

    Kuo ‘ikai tali ‘e he fakamaauʻanga lahi ‘a Tongá ha ʻeke huhuʻi ki hano kapusi halaʻi ʻo ha supavaisa ki muʻa ʻa e Kautaha Leiola ʻi Vavaʻú lolotonga ʻeni ha fakatotolo ʻa e kautahá ki ha mole lahi mei heʻenau koloá.

    Ko e supavaisá ko Sēmisi Vaitaki pea naʻe tuli fakataimi ia ʻi Sune 2014 lolotonga ha fakatotolo ki muʻa ia pea ʻoatu ha faleʻi ke fakangata leva ʻa ʻene ngāue ʻi he ʻaho 29 ʻo Suné.

    Ka ne fakahā ʻi he fakamaauʻangá ne teʻeki pe ke ʻoatu ha tohi ke fakamahino kuo fakanofo ʻaupito ia ʻe he Leiolá.

    Neongo ia ne kikihiʻi ʻe he fakafofonga lao ʻa e Leiolá ʻo pehē naʻe ʻuluaki tuli fakataimi pe ʻa Vaitaki lolotonga e lele ʻa e fakatotolo ki he kehekehe ko ʻeni ne maʻu ʻi hono sivi hake ʻo e koloá pea ʻi Siulai ʻaho 22 ne ne fakafisi mai pe ia ʻiate ia pe.

    Ne pehē ʻe he ʻEiki Fakamaau Lahí Owen Paulsen naʻe ʻikai lava ʻe Vaitaki ke fakamoʻoniʻi naʻe kapusi halaʻi ia mei heʻene ngāue he Leiolá peá ne ʻikai ai ha makatuʻunga ʻene ʻeké.

    ʻOku pehē ne puna atu ki Vavaʻu ha ongo tangata ko Viliami Takau mo Jagieet Chand ke sivi e koloa ʻa e Leiolá ʻo ilo ai ʻoku ʻi ai e mole lahi ʻi he sitoka ʻa e kautahá feʻunga mo e paʻanga ʻe $5,500.

    Naʻe tuku fakataimi ai ʻa Vaitaki ki tuʻa kae fakahoko ha fakatotolo.

    Pehē ʻe Paulsen ʻoku mahino pe kiate ia naʻe ʻosi fakamatalaʻi kia Vaitaki ʻa e ʻuhinga hono tuku fakataimi ia ki tuʻá pea pehē ki he fakafuofua fakapaʻanga ki he lahi e koloa ne pulí. Naʻe ʻikai fakakikihiʻi ʻe Vaitaki ʻa hono tuku fakataimi ia ki tuʻá mo e ʻuhinga ne ʻoange kiate iá.

    ʻI Siulai ʻaho 18 ne ʻimeili atu ʻa Takau kia Vaitaki ʻo fakahā ki ai ko e paʻanga ʻokú ne moʻua ke totongi ki he Leiolá ko e $4,122 mei he sitoká pea ko e paʻanga ʻe $1,298 for sundries.

    ʻOku mahino foki ko e vahaʻa taimi ne tuku ai ia ki tuʻá ne folau ia ki ʻAmelika pea ne foki mai ʻo ʻikai pe ke ne toe fetuʻutaki ia ki he Leiolá.

    Ne pehē ʻe he Fakamaau Lahí ko e toki fuofua taimi ke fanongo ai ʻa e Leiolá kuo foki mai ʻa Vaitakí ko hono aʻutaki ange ʻo hono tufa ʻo e tikite fakaʻilo ke nau hopó ʻi Siulai 2015.

    Naʻe pehē ʻe he Fakamaau Lahi naʻe ʻikai lava ʻe Vaitaki ke fakamoʻoniʻi mo ʻene loeá naʻe fakahoko hano tuli halaʻi ia ʻe he Leiolá.

    Ko e loea maʻa e talatalaakí ko ʻOfa Pouono pea ko e loea maʻa e Leiolá ko Dana Stephenson.