Driver wins ¢2 million because employer told why he was fired

The top labor court has ordered a bus company to pay two million colons to a driver who was fired for irregularities in the accounting of fares.

The decision by the Sala Segunda of the Corte Suprema de Justicia assesses a penalty for the publication of truthful information.

However, the court said that the bus company denigrated the worker by sending a wanted-type poster to other bus firms describing why the man was fired.

The court case said the man was let go because of irregularities in the accounting of adult fares. Seniors can ride for free on local lines, but the driver has to keep track. The implication in the court case was that the driver generated excess free passages.

The court also ordered the bus company to pay the man 210,420 colons, about $400, an amount that was disputed for vacation time and overtime.

The court based its ruling on an article in the civil code that forbids denigrating workers. The court likened this to defamation, even though there was not falsity alleged.

The court said that because the bus firm notified other companies about the financial irregularities it created depression and pain for the worker and that the act impeded the man’s effort to obtain work elsewhere.

Still, the court ruled that the firing without employer responsibility was justified. The amount awarded, two million colons, is about $4,000. The court said that the bus company abused its disciplinary power and caused moral damage. The reason for the firing that was affirmed was loss of confidence.
The case originated in a lower labor court in Desamparados.

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