Doctors awarded compensation - 23/4/2006

Doctors awarded compensation
Three doctors, who worked as part-time resident medical officers at St Philip's Hospital, have each been awarded Lm1,000 in compensation when the Industrial Tribunal ruled that the way in which their employment had been terminated was unfair.

The doctors - Maria Iris Felice Klaumann, Glorianne Briffa and Stefan Fenech - had initiated proceedings against St Philip's Hospital and Golden Shepherd Group Limited that runs the hospital.

In three separate cases the chairman of the tribunal, Harold Walls, heard how the three doctors had been employed as part-time resident medical officers at St Philip's Hospital.

When the company learnt that the three doctors were seeing their own private patients at the hospital, the company was worried as the hospital insurance did not cover employees who did not work for the hospital's patients.

The company had to safeguard its position and, on October 22, 2003, it informed the doctors that their part-time employment at the hospital had been terminated and their status changed to self-employed as from August 31, 2003.

This meant that between August and October the doctors had been working without knowing that their employment had been terminated.

The doctors were also owed payment for those months of work. Dr Klaumann was owed Lm1,233, Dr Briffa was owed Lm637 and Dr Fenech Lm2,416. This included their salary and payment due for outpatients services.

On evaluating the cases, the tribunal deplored the way in which the company had terminated the employment of the doctors. The company was also wrong to change the status of the doctors without so much as informing them.

The tribunal ordered the company to pay the three doctors the money owed to them as well as an additional Lm1,000 in compensation.

This meant that Dr Klaumann was to be paid Lm2,233, Dr Briffa was owed Lm1,637 and Dr Fenech Lm3,416.

Lawyers George Abela and Lydia Zerafa represented the doctors while lawyer Arthur Galea Salamone represented the company.

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