Court rejects plans for hotel directors to withhold wages of manager pending public apology
Hotel directors from Gozo have been fined €1,000 each and ordered to pay €3,000 in unpaid salaries, bonuses and public holidays for a sales manager who was previous employed at the hotel.
The court heard how a mother and daughter, Mary Rose Vella and Charmaine Vella withheld the salary because they were expecting an apology from the sales manager for allegedly tarnishing their reputation. Details of how this took place did not emerge from the court judgment.
The pair were charged with failing to pay Ian Scott Moyes wages worth €3,252. Moyes’ termination with the hotel allegedly took place just six months after being chosen for the role.
Presiding magistrate Joe Mifsud heard how Charmaine Vella, director of All Seasons Holidays Ltd, the operating company of the hotel, withheld the wages until Moyes delivered a public apology for the damage he caused to her family. In his considerations, Mifsud noted how the family had previously faced action over failing to pay their employees.
The courts had given the Vellas three chances to rectify the situation of overdue wages, with Mifsud remarking that beyond this, continued failure to pay the agreed upon salary constitutes as exploitation of workers.
In his conclusions, Mifsud urged authorities to warn potential employees of those companies who are known for failing to pay their workers.
“... the company, through its directors, could never – in accordance with law – tie payment or otherwise of the wages due to Moyes with an apology or any other condition.”
The court denounced the relevance of any back-story between Moyes and the directors.