A Court has recently ordered HSBC Bank Malta ("the
bank") to pay €603,000 in damages to heirs of late
employee after having declared that the disciplinary action taken
against said employee was in breach of workers' rights.
Private clients' manager, Ms. Johanna Abela, had been
indefinitely suspended from the bank on March 2004 and a letter of
charge accusing her of gross misconduct was issue on April of the
Upon having been found guilty by an internal disciplinary board,
she was downgraded. An internal appeals board validated this
decision, changing the downgrade to a disciplinary transfer and
In July 2015, Ms. Abela filed a writ claiming that both the
disciplinary and appeals procedures were fundamentally flawed and
breached the principles of natural justice. In fact, as argued by
Ms. Abela, she was not allowed to present witnesses or to
cross-examine those who testified against her. Additionally, an
anonymous document was allegedly used as evidence against her.
In view of the above, Ms. Abela claimed that both the
disciplinary and appeals board has failed to act in an impartial,
independent manner and therefore asked the Court to declare null
and without effect the disciplinary action taken against her.
The bank denied all claims made by Ms. Abela. Ms. Abela
died in 2013 and her heirs took over the case.
In the final judgement, Madam Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima,
has stated that the bank had failed to convince Ms. Abela that the
disciplinary and appeals procedures taken against her were fair and
Although the bank had requested that the disciplinary procedure
against Ms. Abela be reinitiated instead of having paying damages,
the Court has decided that it could not adhere to the bank's
request since she was no longer alive and able to defend herself in
Therefore, the Court has condemned the bank to pay €603,000
in damages to heirs of late employee. Said amount covers the wages
and commission with costs and interests that Ms. Abela would have
received before falling ill.
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