Hi, Please help...
I had been working in a shipping company for 7.5 years and although i had signed a contract of employment for 40 hours a week (8 hours a day) stating that over time is not allowed, they were forcing me to work during the weekends being the standby person for every weekend for 7.5 years ! at the crew department for a fleet of 33 ships with extreme working hours (such as 4 in the morning due to problems with crew movements, 12 midnight due to air tickets urgent issuance etc).
One week before Christmas after coming back at work after 6 days due to medical reason (all papers obtained from the doctor) they told me to go to the HR department and without even asking me how is my health condition told me that I was fired, stating that my performance had been low at the the past 5-6 months, gave me my compensation but because I had taken a loan from the company, they kept my compensation and required from me to pay the rest of the loan to them otherwise they will take me to court! They have left me with no money at all and they are threatening me. Can I sue them ?
1 Answer from Attorneys
as long as you have proofs and witnesses (i.e. co-workers) that you have been working overtime almost for all weekends, you have the basics to file a claim against the Company asking for the correspondent compensation.
Nevertheless, I shall mention that the employer is entitled to fire someone even during his/her sickness leave and of course afterwards, but there is always a limit to the employer's right called "unfair/ abusive dismissal" (even the unjustified dismissal is illegal).
Be aware that there are specific time limits - deadlines: in case you decide to file a claim for unfair dismissal you need to do that within 3 months from the dismissal date.