Man dismissed from his post after he reported for work instead of his colleague

The Industrial Tribunal has ordered Signal 8 Security Services to pay the sum of €18,520 to its former employee Mario Farrugia, , for dismissing him from his post after he reported for work instead of his colleague. Farrugia was employed with Cargo Operations at Air Malta.

The case dates back to January 2020 when Farrugia received a phone call from his colleague who asked him to report for work instead of him due to a personal emergency. He accepted and went to work his colleague’s shift.

Shortly afterwards the company informed him that he was going to be given a warning for doing this, and ended up firing him.

The company denied that Farrugia worked the shift because of an exigency of work and described what happened as a criminal act of “playing around with shifts”, shifts not worked and requests for hours which were not worked with the intention of defrauding the company.

The Tribunal, presided over by Chairman Joseph Gerada, noted that Farrugia had informed his superiors of the arrangement, however his colleague had not.

The Chairman said that from the evidence which he had collected, none of Farrugia’s actions consisted in any form of abuse. He added that, in fact, his actions indicated behaviour of cooperation and pragmatism so that a sensitive workplace such as the Cargo Operations at Air Malta would be covered by adequate security, as required.

He also noted that while Farrugia was fired, no action was taken against the employee who did not report for work.

“If a proper hearing of the case had been held by the company, as was held in front of the Tribunal, it would have found that Farrugia was not only one of the best employees but was exemplary. He used to not only do his job well but used to go above and beyond what was expected of him, and answer with responsibility at the opportune time.”

Gerada added that workers such as these should be noted and appreciated and when this does not happen it does not reflect on the employee, but very much on who is employing them.

“The Tribunal condemns the way this serious 69-year-old employee was treated to the detriment of his reputation,” said Gerada. He added that Farrugia should come out of this Tribunal with his head held high because his good reputation was restored and therefore he would be an asset to whoever has the privilege of employing him.”

Farrugia was represented by Dr Elaine Degiorgio while Signal 8 was represented by Dr Carlos Bugeja.