A woman estate police officer at the T&T National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (NP), who was allegedly sexually harassed on the job by a senior just under a year ago, has sent a pre-action protocol letter to management demanding justice and her case dealt with immediately.
The woman told Guardian Media she is still very traumatised by the incident and claims she continues to be victimised and discriminated against since she rejected the senior’s approaches and lodged her initial complaint.
“I love my job and I just want the opportunity to show and receive respect and to work in a safe and comfortable environment, as anyone else,” the woman told the T&T Guardian.
“I feel as if I am the villain when I believe I am the victim. I want to be able to save someone else from this kind of attack on their respective jobs…sexual harassment must be exposed and shown how serious of a matter it is.”
On May 3, attorney Christopher Ross-Gidla sent a letter to NP CEO Bernard Mitchell, giving him ample time to respond and address the situation. Ross-Gidla said his client was now suffering from depression and had given him instructions “to file a claim in the Court of Law for damages (depression) but we would hold our hand in doing the same until we hear from you within a reasonable time.” To date, however, there has been no response from NP.
Ross-Gidla’s letter indicated that the officer first made complaints of sexual harassment against her senior in June 2017.
“This kind of behaviour made my client very stressful. It caused her depression. The doctors also diagnosed that she may be under severe depression. The doctor’s report was refused to be given to my client and she has the right to get the report. This is all due to the behaviour shown to her by the supervisor,” the letter stated.
“She also instructs since her refusal to the proposals made by the supervisor, she was facing a lot of problems from the supervisor out of spite towards her. She instructs me that even though she made several complaints to the general manager, nothing came out of that. Instead of sorting out the problem that exists in the department, she is threatened that her precept license would be revoked, if she still has the depression.”
The attorney reminded Mitchell that sexual harassment is very serious and has been in public discussion several times. Ross-Gidla reminded the CEO that even Government and ministers are working vigorously to control this issue and that NP’s policy book also has clauses which speak to the issue.
“Yet it is surprising nothing was done so far to address her complaints,” Ross-Gidla said in the letter.
On August 10, 2018, correspondence was delivered to NP’s Employee/Industrial Relations Manager indicating that the female officer had a grievance. However, in an NP Estate Police Branch Board letterhead memo dated August 12, 2018, to NP’s general manager human resources/HSSE (copied to NP’s CEO), the branch board slammed the company’s Employee/Industrial Relations Manager for failing to perform his duty in addressing the officer’s grievance.
The letter stated: “This letter indicated that our member (name and regimental number mentioned) has a grievance and within minutes on the said date (August 10, 2018) the Employee/Industrial Relations Manager responded to the Branch Board that the alleged member did not have a grievance and that the Branch Board ought to forward information to validate if the alleged aggrieved person was a member of the Estate Police Association.
“The Branch Board contends that the Employee/Industrial Relations Manager failed to perform his duty in addressing our member’s grievance. While the Supervisor has the authority to write the officers under his charge, those writings can be challenged if it is not factual. Furthermore, if an officer feels treated unfairly it is their right to grieve on such and the company must give way to the officer’s right to be heard,” the letter added.
Guardian Media sent an email to Mitchell for comment on the matter and how he intends to treat with the issue.
Mitchell replied: “With all due respect, this is not a matter I am at liberty to discuss with you.”