Court awards compensation to sacked foreign journalist

April 8th, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) A labour court has awarded a compensation of about Rs.5 million ($125,000) to an American journalist sacked by the Associated Press (AP) news agency here in a ruling sure to affect foreign employers and their employees in India. Assistant Labour Commissioner A.V. Premnath, designated the Competent Authority, ruled that Laurinda Keys Long was very much covered by Indian laws because AP had a base in this country.

Laurinda Keys’ lawyer Suman Doval told IANS that AP has been told to pay the journalist, who was 53 years old and news editor when she was sacked in 2004, Rs.4.5 million and 12 percent interest a year. The total is expected to touch Rs.5 million. She challenged the dismissal in 2005.

Premnath ordered the compensation under the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, in February this year. But a certified copy of the ruling was made available to the petitioner only last week.

Doval said that this was “a very significant judgement” because it upheld the rights of a foreign journalist working in India to be governed by Indian labour laws.

“It is the first time the rights of a foreign journalist working for a foreign company have been crystallised under the act,” he said. “It is revolutionary in nature.”

During the 28 years Laurinda Keys was with AP, she reported from more than 30 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The ruling could make a difference in how foreign companies deal with employees they send overseas to countries where such laws protect them.

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