By Shara Reid, Norman Manley Law School
Sandy Lane Hotel Co. Limited v Brigitte Laurayne  CCJ 1 (AJ)
In a case which Justice Hayton called “a sad case where emotional feelings have clouded rational judgment,” the CCJ gave judgment in favour of the Sandy Lane Hotel in a wrongful dismissal claim brought by a former employee, Brigitte Laurayne. Mrs Laurayne was employed as Director of Leisure and Spa. When the hotel sought to appoint an Assistant Director to perform the day-to-day running of the massage and beauty treatments, Mrs Laurayne began to feel that she was being squeezed out. She sued the hotel claiming that she had been constructively dismissed. The hotel argued that the new hiring was done to lighten Mrs Laurayne’s work load and improve the standards and quality level of their spa facilities. There was no written contract and so, the Court looked at the evolution of the position of Director of Leisure and Spa over the years to find out whether it could be said there was a constructive dismissal.
After examining the evidence, the Court concluded that there had been no substantial change to Ms Laurayne’s position. Even after the appointment of the Assistant Director Mrs. Laurayne was still in charge of the management of the spa and the Assistant Director would report to her. Therefore despite Mrs. Laurayne’s “odd perception of the situation” the Court could not find that she had been dismissed and judgment was given against her.
This summary is intended to assist the Caribbean public in learning more about the work of the CCJ. It is not a formal document of the Court. The judgment of the Court is the only authoritative document and may be found at http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-CCJ-1-AJ1.pdf