SC rules no discrimination in granting accommodation allowance only to expats

Supreme Court of the Maldives | Photo: PSM

Male’, Maldives – The Supreme Court of Maldives, ending an appeal case regarding the verdict declared by the High Court of Maldives in 2012, has supported the High Court verdict, that providing an accommodation allowance to expatriate workers only is not discrimination.

The case, which was originally filed to the Employment tribunal during 2010, by a 22 strong group of local pilots working for Trans Maldivian, formerly known as Maldivian Air Taxi, claimed differentiation between local and expatriate pilots working for the company, citing that the latter were provided with an additional USD 900 as accommodation allowance, which was not provided to the local pilots working at the same level. The

Tribunal ruled that it was indeed discrimination between employees, and ordered that both local and expatriate employees must be granted the allowance alike.

However, in 2012, the High Court overruled the decision, citing the difference between equality and equity, stating that persons in two different situations cannot be dealt with the same standards. The verdict further detailed that expatriate and locals cannot be deemed to be in the same situation, and that ensuring equity cannot be seen as discrimination, leading the case to the Supreme Court for appeal.

Declaring the final verdict on the matter, the Supreme Court detailed that the accommodation allowance was granted to the expatriate workers by Maldivian Air Taxi, as it was mandated by law at the time, and that the company complying with laws and regulations to provide an allowance for the expatriate employees cannot be considered as discrimination.

The case ended with all three Judges presiding over the case agreeing upon the verdict.