Heirs of late HSBC employee awarded $940K

The court decision marked the end of an 11-year long legal case with the bank accused of unjust disciplinary action.

An 11-year old employment law case against HSBC has been wrapped up with the courts finding the bank had breached the rights of Johanna Abela – a private clients’ manager – through unjust disciplinary action.
The verdict took too long to come through however, with Abela passing away from cancer in 2013. In light of these circumstances, the courts awarded €603K - the equivalent to NZ$938,935 to her heirs instead, the Times of Malta reported.
Abela had been indefinitely suspended from the bank on 1 March 2004. A letter of charge accusing her of gross misconduct was later issued on 8 April in the same year.
After an internal disciplinary board found her guilty, she was downgraded. An internal appeals board validated this decision, changing the downgrade to a disciplinary transfer and final warning.
On 8 July 2005, Abela filed a writ claiming that defects and irregularities within the hearing breached the common principles of justice.
The application, signed by lawyer Tonio Azzopardi, said among other things that Abela was not allowed to present her own witnesses or cross-examine those testifying against her.
Furthermore, an anonymous document was allegedly used as evidence against her.
Saying that both the disciplinary and appeals boards had failed to act in an impartial, independent manner, she said the investigation breached her rights and were thus null and without effect. She asked the court to support her in these allegations.
HSBC denied these claims.
In the final judgment, Madam Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima said the bank had failed to convince her that the process taken against Abela was fair and without prejudice.
Although the bank had requested that the disciplinary procedure against Abela be reinitiated instead of having to pay costs, the courts decided that since she was no longer alive this was no longer an option.
The firm was ordered to pay damages included the wages and commission with costs and interests that Abela would have received up until the time her cancer symptoms deemed her too ill to work.
For all the latest HR news and info straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

More like this:

Unions claim lockout is “illegal”

Pay day revolution on the way?

Why HR shouldn’t compromise on recruitment 

Recent articles & video

Manager resigns over 'shocking' performance improvement plan

Court of Appeal U-turn finds family carers are not employees

E tū ordered to pay $25,000 for unjust dismissal of former organiser

Ministry of Social Development proposes cuts to 97 roles

Most Read Articles

Manager resigns over 'shocking' performance improvement plan

'It is unlawful for people to be mistreated in their workplaces'

Former DEI exec gets 5 years in prison for defrauding Facebook, Nike