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Employee demands payment after being fired

Employee demands payment after being fired


having been denied payment after she was fired on January 13, a young woman of Lowmans Leeward took matters into her own hands and beat her boss.

However, when the 21-year-old appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias at the Serious Offences Court{{more}} last Tuesday to answer charges of assault, causing bodily harm, she was reprimanded and discharged.

Friekesha Douglas explained to the Chief Magistrate that when Jifen Chen, the manager of the Phoenix Restaurant, refused to pay her, saying they were friends, she became upset.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Douglas said on the day in question, the owner of the restaurant told her she was fired because business was slow.

The young woman said she then approached Chen, the manager of the Lower Bay Street restaurant, and asked to be paid.

“She told me that she is not going to pay me because we are friends,” Douglas said.

“I told her friends and business do not mix.”

According to Douglas, she then took up the key for cash register and held it until they came to an agreement that Chen would pay her if she returned the machine key.

“When I give her back the key, she tried running off from me.”

Douglas said when she tried going towards the cash machine, Chen pushed her away.

It was then she said she saw a slipper on the floor, which she took up and used to hit Chen.

According to the young woman, after this, they started wrestling, which ended when Chen fell on to a piece of wall.

However, when the case was heard last Tuesday, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delspesche told the court that when Douglas asked Chen to pay her before leaving the restaurant, she was told to return on Saturday (payday) to collect the money owed to her.

He stated that Douglas became angry, pulled the key from the cash register, took up the slipper and began beating Chen, pushing her head against a wooden partition, causing injury to Chen’s nose, hand and face.

Douglas was then pushed out of the restaurant by another coworker, said Delpesche.

In the interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Douglas disputed the statement given by police in court stating that it was completely different to what actually happened.

Douglas said Chen never told her to come back on payday, and she did not pull the key out the machine, but took it from off a table.

She added that no one pushed her out of the restaurant, but two coworkers asked her to leave because police officers would be on the scene.

During mitigation, Douglas told the court she was frustrated because at the end of the month she had to pay her rent and utility bills and was expecting to be paid. She therefore took matters into her own hands when she did not get her money, although she knows she should not have.

She however assured Browne-Matthias that she would never be in court again to answer a charge.

The Chief Magistrate stated that it was difficult to exercise good judgement in such a case.

She noted that the injury report issued to Chen by the doctor gave more detail about what injuries she did not have than the actual injuries, which the magistrate described as “superficial”.

Browne also said that while Douglas had an expectation of payment, she wished that the restaurant worker had not taken matters into her own hands.

The chief magistrate therefore reprimanded and discharged Douglas, a decision which was supported by the prosecutor.

Douglas said she felt very good about the ruling and is grateful that she was just reprimanded.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the Phoenix restaurant to speak to Chen on Wednesday, she seemingly was not capable of conducting an interview in English. (AS)