PM terms LIAT court ruling ‘excessive’

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‘Excessive’ was one of the words Prime Minister Gaston Browne used while lamenting the recent court ruling against LIAT in St. Croix.

 Speaking on Pointe FM radio station over the weekend, Browne expressed hope that the administrators at LIAT would appeal the decision which he pointed out could lead to further financial problems for the already struggling airline.

“Clearly it’s excessive and I would imagine that LIAT would appeal it. In any event, whoever gave that judgement does not understand

the financial health of LIAT, because if they did, [if]

those judges understood the position with LIAT, they would not be making such an outlandish decision to award US $1.5 million. That’s

just utter madness,” Browne said.

About four days ago, William Cherubin was awarded US $1.55 million dollars in damages by a jury in St. Croix after he took the airline to court for firing him because of his age.

In 2011, LIAT offered all employees over age 62 a retirement package in exchange for voluntary resignations, but Cherubin wanted to stay

on and he turned down the offer.

According to court documents, on June 4, 2015, LIAT fired Cherubin without notice, citing several incidents involving violations of company policy, including two alleged incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2012.

Cherubin and his attorneys alleged that LIAT actually fired him because of his age and not because of poor performance, as the airline argued.

Virgin Islands law prohibits the discrimination of employees because of age.

Cherubin was 71 when he was fired by LIAT in 2015. He had worked with the airline for 47 years.

Court documents show he began as a ticket agent in St. Croix in 1968, and was promoted to ground operations manager in 1973.

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