Dismissed Labor Employees Open Pandora Box By: Julius Konton

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Four dismissed employees of the Ministry of Labor have opened a Pandora box following what they termed as wrongful dismissals. In a communication available to the media, the aggrieved employees challenged the legality of their dismissals by the Ministry of Labor.  ” It is bizarre to note that the Ministry that should be heralding the perfection of good Labor practices has become the epicenter of bad labor practices, wrongful dismissals, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of a clearly written law of the country”, the communication signed by the four aggrieved employees blasted. The four dismissed employees- Samuel S. Sambolah, HIV/ AIDS Focal Person, Victor S. Whymah, Planning Officer, Edwin S. Sebo, Child Labor Monitor and Bill S. Ninneh , Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Minister of Planning, have called for the unconditional withdrawal of such alleged unlawful and un-procedural dismissals and to as well informed the general public that the decision on the part of the Ministry was an error. “We feel that this will clear our names from the unwanted reputational damages of the action and we believe that such action was taken unilaterally without consensus and proper reference check,” they added. The aggrieved employees who also challenged the legality of their dismissals also refuted assertions in the dismissal letter dated June 19, 2024, stating that they were in Gbarpolu on June 14, 2024 allegedly exhibiting conducts unbecoming of an employee in public service.  Citing few reasons to justify why their dismissals were illegal, the aggrieved employees wondered and questioned what embarrassment, according to the dismissal press release, did their authorized action by uncovering the working of eleven Illegal aliens in the country without alleged work permits amounting to USD$44, 000 violation bring to the Ministry of Labor.  They explained further that on June 15, 2024, they arrived in Gbarpolu County with an authorized document duly signed by the Inspector General of Labor and the Assistant Minister for Planning and Manpower Development, who was acting then as the Deputy Minister of Planning and Manpower Development at the Ministry respectively. Commenting on the alleged illegal component  of their dismissals through a communication addressed to the Deputy Minister of Administration, Othello P. Mansuo, the aggrieved Labor employees stated that how can the ministry dismiss them, referencing chapter 4, section 2/4.2.2 d, of the Civil Service Standing Order by quoting it partially and not in its entirety. Chapter 4 section 2/4.2.1 according to them states, ” When a case of misconduct or general inefficiency is brought to the attention of the Agency’s Head or Director General, disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated only after the employee or officer concerned has been given adequate opportunity to exculpate himself. ” The aggrieved employees in line with the section challenged the legality of their dismissals, stating that when was the investigation done or conducted before action was taken as previously indicated in the dismissal press release.  Moreover, they wondered, “Who were those being part of the disciplinary committee, who conducted the investigation as well as the written outcome or recommendations from the committee’s report.” At the same time , the aggrieved four employees made reference to Chapter 4, section 2/4.2.2,  d of the very Civil Service Standing Order that says: ” If in the opinion of the Agency’s Head or Director General, an employee fails to exculpate himself, the following penalties shall apply” conduct unbecoming of employee in public service disorderly or immoral conduct penalty shall be two letters of warning followed by dismissal, something they argued did not happen as such, they encouraged the ministry to do the right and proper thing.

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