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Cyprus

Ombudswoman rules civil servant unfairly sacked

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides

The ombudswoman has flagged the sacking of a woman from the department of civil aviation (DCA), noting that it was unwarranted and unfair.

The case concerns a woman who had been physically assaulted at her workplace. She had to be treated at Nicosia general hospital as a result.

She had been hired at the DCA on a full-time basis, as a contract worker, in 2017.

After the assault, the woman notified the DCA of the incident. She furnished her employers with medical certificates, including an opinion from a psychiatrist that she suffered from post-traumatic stress whenever she would try and visit her workplace.

According to Phileleftheros, which reported the story, the psychiatrist also recommended that the woman be transferred.

In total, the woman was absent from work for seven months, during which time she provided her employers with the necessary medical documentation for her absence.

Around May 2020 she requested a transfer to the department of road transport, in Latsia. While she waited for a response, the DCA terminated her employment. The woman subsequently filed a complaint with the ombudswoman.

In a report, the ombudswoman said the DCA was aware all along of the woman’s situation, and that they had received all the medical certificates, whose validity they never questioned.

As such, the official noted, the DCA’s position that the complainant was absent from work without permission, is untenable.

The ombudswoman found that the manner of the woman’s sacking violates the principle of good governance.

“If in doubt about the authenticity of the content of the medical opinions, they ought to have followed due process and have the complainant visit a medical board,” the official said.

Regarding the woman’s request for a transfer, this was rejected without providing a reason.

It’s understood the woman has since filed paperwork demanding she be re-hired.

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