More power to Labour chief
The Chief Labour Oofficer will have significantly more power and a much wider jurisdiction under the still to be proclaimed Employment Rights Act, a senior attorney-at-law has said.
The holder of the office will no longer be “a man who sits down in an office and hears complaints about severance pay and things of that nature,” Queen’s Counsel Hal Gollop told the Barbados Association of Office Professionals’ annual conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Thursday.
Giving a presentation on the legislation, Gollop said the functionary will have the power to enter, examine or inspect “at any reasonable time whether by day or night, with or without previous notice, any premises or place in which he has reasonable cause to believe that any person may be employed or which he believes to be liable to inspection”.
Describing the Chief Labour Officer as “an extremely powerful functionary” under the statute, the attorney said that the holder may take with him any other person, including a member of the police force, to enable him to carry out, or to assist him, in carrying out his functions.
Under the Act, any person who wilfully obstructs, hinders or delays the Chief Labour Officer in the exercise of any of his functions is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $20 000 or to imprisonment for six months or both.
Offences include failing to comply with any lawful direction given or made by the Chief Labour Officer without reasonable cause, failing to produce any book, register or other document required under the Act and concealing or otherwise preventing an employee who is required to appear before or be questioned by the officer from doing so. (NB)