Ex Manager Claims AUM Group Made Him Ill

The Jordanian group behind the American University of Malta has been taken to court by a former employee who is accusing them of causing him “psychological” harm to the point that he could no longer report for work.

The plaintiff is requesting moral damages as well as the wages which he said were withheld by his former employer Sadeen Educational Investments, while he was sick.

The legal action follows the AUM’s dismissal of a number of lecturers and members of the administration. While the university had declined to comment on the reason behind these sackings, some of those affected had complained that the reason for their dismissal was not communicated to them.

However, none of them were willing to be quoted on the record in view of the fact that they had been warned not to speak to the media or else they would face law suits for damages.

Meanwhile, the AUM is struggling to attract students and its current population is way below target, standing at about 30.

The court case against Sadeen was instituted by Edoardo Pagani, an Italian national, who in August 2016 had been engaged by the Jordanians as deputy project manager for a six-month period. His duty was to oversee the restoration and construction of the AUM premises at Dock One in Cospicua and the planned new campus at Żonqor in Marsascala.

In February last year, Mr Pagani’s contract was renewed by a further six months till the end of last August. The former employee is claiming that trouble started brewing soon after the appointment of Ing. Raied Ebaid as project manager in May last year.

In his court application, Mr Pagani points out that between May 15 and 22 he was slapped with three warnings by Mr Ebaid. According to the plaintiff, the disciplinary action was taken after he was accused of having approved payment of a steel mesh which was not utilised during the works.

Mr Pagani, however, said he was following the architect’s advice. In the second warning, delivered two days later, he was notified that he had been suspended and ordered to return the company’s mobile phone, laptop and office keys. He was also informed that an internal investigation had been launched.

In the third and ‘final warning’, the Jordanian group informed the employee that he had failed to inform the management of changes in the works to be effected. However, he was instructed to resume his work on the following day.

But the plaintiff did not go back, saying he had fallen ill “solely as a result of the conduct of the defendant/s”.

Mr Pagani is accusing Mr Ebaid as well as his employer Sadeen, of inflicting “psychological and moral” suffering.

Such treatment had “detrimental effects” on his health to the extent that he suffered from “depression” as certified by a psychiatrist, the application read.

He pointed out that the employer failed to send a doctor to verify his state of health.

After having returned all of the company’s belongings as requested it was “impossible” for him to report back to work as instructed.

He also complained that he had only received part of the salary due for May and June, and none for the following two months. Moreover, Sadeen had not provided him with free health insurance cover, in breach of his employment contract.

In view of this Mr Pagani is requesting the court to liquidate a sum representing moral damages in his favour, order his employer to pay him all the wages due as well as the costs incurred to treat his depression.

In his application Mr Pagani denied all accusations, saying he would be producing evidence during proceedings to back his innocence.

Source : https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180218/local/ex-manager-claims-aum-group-made-him-ill.670969

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