State-owned oil company Petrotrin has been ordered to pay a little over $.3 million to a process engineering superintendent who successfully argued that the company contravened its own employment policies when it hired a foreign national in a position he held for five years.
The compensation order was made by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal (EOT) yesterday in favour of Derek Salandy. Presiding over Salandy’s case were chairman of the Tribunal Rajmanlal Joseph and assessors Leela Ramdeen and Harridath Maharaj. Salandy was represented by attorney Shankar Bidaisee while Senior Counsel Russell Martineau appeared for Petrotrin.
According to Salandy’s complaint, he held the position of process engineering superintendent in the Refining and Market Division at Pointe-a-Pierre since 2002, but in 2007 a Venezuelan national was hired on a two-year contract in the position of Process Engineering Superintendent - Heavy Oils, although he (Salandy) had more experience.
Salandy said the position was similar to his and pointed out that he also served as Acting Chief Process Engineer on several occasions but the foreigner received a substantially larger pay package, company perks of a leased vehicle, housing accommodation, free gas, as well as a gratuity.
In their ruling delivered, the Tribunal found that Petrotrin deviated from its employment policy when it hired the foreigner and treated Salandy, who was employed with the state-owned company since 1980, ‘less favourable’ when he asked to be paid the same as his colleague.
Since the complainant (Salandy) suffered injury to his feelings and that the discriminatory acts were serious and continued for almost four continuous years, he has to be compensated appropriately, the Tribunal concluded.