Consultants claim abusive dismissal by Sadeen Education Investment Ltd

A Belgian couple have filed a judicial protest against the company and the Attorney General, claiming unfair dismissal by the American University of Malta

A couple from Belgium have filed a judicial protest against Sadeen Education Investment Ltd and the Attorney General this morning, claiming unfair dismissal by the American University of Malta, in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Gerardo Donati and Chiara Ludovica Battistelli lived in Belgium up until June 2017, before Battistelli signed a consultation contract with Sadeen Education Investment, to run the student admissions office, and to attract students to the university. The contract covered the period between 15 February and 31 May of this year.

She had worked mostly from Belgium, but had come to Malta every month, for three days at a time, the protest read. The contract stipulated that after the consultancy contract expired, Battistelli would be given an employment contract for a fixed period of three years, starting 1 June this year. She was to be employed as director of admissions and earning a €52,500 annual salary, in addition to benefits including health insurance and paid education for her children.

The contract was subject to a six-month probationary period.

In order to work, Battistelli had moved to Malta, together with her family, her husband, Donati, leaving his managerial post at a financial firm in Belgium, to be with his family in Malta. Their son had enrolled in a Maltese school.

However, reads the protest, despite Battistelli diligently conducting her work, and successfully bringing a number of students to enroll with the university, which allowed it to start operating, her superiors informed her that her employment would be terminated on 4 September this year and did not give a reason for this.

Due to the fact that this termination took place within the probationary period, the woman had no remedy under industrial law in Malta. The absence of a means of redress, say the couple, is a breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights for which the AG is answerable on behalf of the State.

The couple's lawyer Joe Ellis is arguing that the company acted abusively and had caused them serious damages, which he called upon the defendants to pay or face further court action.

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