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Port worker who lost €800k discrimination claim had turned down alternative job offer

The Transport Authority argued: 'By no stretch of the imagination can the Transport Authority be found responsible for compensation or consequential damages'

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
24 August 2017, 2:55pm
Transport Malta has alleged that a port worker whose award of €800,000 compensation for gender discrimination was overturned on appeal, had refused its offer of alternative employment in favour of a job with a bank before filing her compensation claim.

This emerged in a reply to a judicial protest filed by 21-year-old Carlo Cassar, holding the Minister for Transport, Transport Malta and the Port Workers Board responsible in damages for not allowing his mother – and by extension, him – to inherit her father's port worker's licence.

Victoria Cassar had taken the Port Workers Board to court after her request to fill her father’s port worker job, following his retirement in1992, was refused on the basis that she is a woman, with the job instead going to her uncle.

Cassar claimed to have suffered a substantial loss of earnings, and demanded damages in a civil case.

In 2000, the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction had ordered the Port Workers Board to allow her to register herself as being eligible to be a port worker as from 1992. The Constitutional Court had confirmed the judgment, a year later. A civil case for the liquidation of damages was then filed and in 2012, awarded her €799,168 in damages.

The Court of Appeal overturned the initial civil case decision, stating that the Port Workers Board held no liability for the damages suffered by Cassar.

Earlier this month, Cassar filed a Constitutional application arguing that the appeal judgment was incompatible with the Constitutional Court’s original decision and violated her constitutional right to freedom from discrimination and constituted degrading treatment.

In May, the son, Carlo Cassar, also filed a judicial protest arguing that the injustice suffered by his mother had also deprived him of his right to inherit the licence.

Now, the Malta Transport Authority and the Board of Port Workers have filed a counter protest insisting that the allegations and pretenses by the Cassar family are unfounded.

The counter protest, filed this morning by lawyers Franco Vassallo and Joseph Camilleri, explained that after a change in regulations, the woman had been invited to apply for a job as a port worker. However, Cassar had turned down the offer, preferring to keep her job as a bank manager.

Quoting from the appeal judgement, the counter-process argues that: “She had the opportunity to apply but refused to do so for her own personal reasons. She decided to sit back and wait for an astronomical compensation.”

“If she refused the offer, then her son cannot have any legitimate expectations in this regard,” the lawyers argued.

“By no stretch of the imagination can the Transport Authority be found responsible for compensation or consequential damages.”

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...