Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Marriage of Convenience/Sham Marriage

Q: I married a Jamaican woman two months ago and it was a marriage of convenience. I would like to get a divorce. Would she be entitled to any of my estate or alimony? How do I proceed with this?



A: The doctrine of "clean hands" is a rule of law that requires a person coming to court with a lawsuit or petition for a court order to be free from unfair conduct (have "clean hands" or not have done anything wrong) in regard to the subject matter of his/her claim. Going to court claiming that it was a marriage of convenience with your tacit knowledge of the fact (as opposed to force), is a first-class ticket to jail.

Some Trinbagonians get caught in NY, while some get caught in the UK.

Unfortunately for you, she's your wife regardless of the circumstances and if you get a divorce, she will be entitled to her share of your estate and alimony.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

T&T Employment Discrimination (Part 2)

According to Part III of the Trinidad and Tobago Equal Opportunity Act 2000, Sections 8-10 outline the instances where discrimination can occur, with sections 11-14 highlighting the execptions to discrimination.


Discrimination against applicants
8. An employer or a prospective employer shall not discriminate against a person—

(a) in the arrangements he makes for the purpose of determining who should be offered employment;

(b) in the terms or conditions on which employment is offered; or

(c) by refusing or deliberately omitting to offer employment.

Discrimination against employees
9. An employer shall not discriminate against a person employed by him—

(a) in the terms or conditions of employment that the employer affords the person;

(b) in the way the employer affords the person access to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training or to any other benefit, facility or service associated with employment, or by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford the person access to them; or

(c) by dismissing the person or subjecting the person to any other detriment.

Vocational training
10. A person shall not discriminate against another person where that other person is seeking or undergoing training for any employment—

(a) in the terms or conditions on which that other person is afforded access to any training course or other facilities concerned with such training; or

(b) by terminating that other person’s training or subjecting that other person to any detriment during the course of training.

Exception: Genuine occupational qualification
11. (1) Sections 8 to 9 shall not apply in respect of discrimination on the grounds of sex in a case where being of a particular sex is a genuine occupational qualification for employment, promotion, transfer or training.

11. (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), being of a particular sex is a genuine occupational qualification if—

(a) the duties relating to the employment can be performed only by a person having physical attributes (excluding physical strength or stamina) which only a person of a particular sex possesses;

(b) the duties relating to the employment or training involve participation in a dramatic performance or other entertainment in a capacity for which a person of a particular sex is required for reasons of authenticity;

(c) the duties relating to the employment or training involve participation as an artist’s photographic or exhibition model in the production of a work of art, visual image or sequence of visual images for which a person of a particular sex is required for reasons of authenticity;

(d) the duties relating to the employment or training need to be performed by a person of a particular sex to preserve decency or privacy;

(e) the nature of the establishment, or the part of it within which the work is done, requires the employment to be held by a person of a particular sex; or

(f) the person employed or being trained provides or is to provide persons of a particular sex with personal services concerning their welfare, education or health or similar personal services, and those services can most effectively be provided by a person of that particular sex.

11. (3) Sections 8 to 10 shall not apply in a case where—

(a) the duties relating to the employment or training involve participation in a dramatic performance or other entertainment in a capacity for which a person of a particular race is required for reasons of authenticity;

(b) the duties relating to the employment or training involve participation as an artist’s photographic or exhibition model in the production of a work or art, visual image or sequence of visual images for which a person of a particular race is required for reasons of authenticity.

Exception: Religious shop
12. Sections 8 to 10 shall not apply in respect of discrimination on the ground of religion in a case where being of a particular religion is a necessary qualification for employment in a religious shop.

Exception: Domestic services and family business
13. (1) Sections 8 to 10 shall not apply to the employment of not more than three persons in domestic or personal services in or in relation to the home of the employer.

13. (2) Notwithstanding sections 8 to 10, a family business may employ relatives in favour of non-relatives.

Exception: Inherent requirements, unjustifiable hardship, risk
14. Sections 8 to 10 shall not apply to the employment of a person with a disability if—

(a) taking into account the person’s past training, qualifications and experience relevant to the particular employment and, if the person is already employed by the employer, the person’s performance as an employee, and all other relevant factors that it is reasonable to take into account, the person because of disability—

(i) would be unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the particular employment; or

(ii) would, in order to carry out those requirements, require services or facilities that are not required by persons without a disability and the provision of which would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer;

(b) because of the nature of the disability and the environment in which the person works or is to work or the nature of the work performed or to be performed, there is or likely to be—

(i) a risk that the person will injure others, and it is not reasonable in all the circumstances to take that risk; or

(ii) a substantial risk that the person will injure himself.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

T&T Employment Discrimination (Part 1)

Despite living in London, I have decided to do my Employment Law Masters dissertation on Employment Discrimination in Trinidad and Tobago because the majority of people in T&T have no clue about their rights in regards to employment practices. The aim is to educate citizens and encourage the government to enforce policies to allow our heterogeneous society to be reflected in both the public and private sectors.

Coincidentally, while researching and doing my proposal, Nizam Mohammed, the recently fired Police Service Chairman made a comment that there are too many Africans in the Police Service. Without getting into politics and detail, the comment lacked a historical perspective, but at the same time is true. This same imbalance in the TTPS can be seen in reverse in the medical field and on copious state boards. To me, the stark irony of Nizam's comment was that he, as the Chairman of the Police Service, was NOT of African descent.

Due to the amount of information to impart, I will have to spread this over the next few weeks, today starting with the characteristics that can precipitate discrimination. It is illegal to discriminate based on the following characteristics:

(a) the sex - does not include sexual preference or orientation

(b) race - a group of persons of common ethnic origin, colour or of mixed race

(c) ethnicity;

(d) origin, including geographical origin;

(e) religion;

(f) marital status; or

(g) Disability - includes:

• total or partial loss of a bodily function;

• total or partial loss of a part of the body;

• malfunction of a part of the body including a mental or psychological disease or disorder; or

• malformation or disfigurement of part of the body