Published On: Wed, Jul 13th, 2022

Court rejects all demands but one from fired airport COO Hyman

PHILIPSBURG — Leaking confidential information to Parliament and the Council of Ministers and refusing to enlighten the Supervisory Board of Directors of the Princess Juliana International Airport Exploitation Company about the suspicions leveled against him by the Public Prosecutor’s Office have cost Michel Hyman his job as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the SXM Airport.

After his dismissal by the general shareholders meeting on March 14, 2022, Hyman went to court with a series of demands.

Hyman started working for the airport on September 15, 1993. In 2017 he signed a service agreement that promoted him to Chief Operating Officer per August 1, 2017. This agreement ends on July 31, 2022.

The dismissed COO asked the court that PJIA hires him again as the director of airport operations and to pay his monthly salary of 15,463.43 guilders (around $8,639) until his labor contract has been legally terminated. Hyman also asked for the payment of 104,760 guilders ($58,525) for the period up to June 2022 and for a monthly payment of 26,190 guilders ($14,641) from July 2022 until February 2023. That was not all: Hyman also demanded payment of 30,000 guilders for additional work done in 2017 and a retroactive 2 percent annual salary increase from 2018 until 2022, payment for 31.25 unused vacation days and payment of vacation allowance of 13,987.42 guilders ($7,814) for the years 2021 and 2022. Altogether, not counting the 2 percent annual increase, a demand for 369,401 guilders, or $206,369.

The SXM Airport, understandably, asked the court to reject Hyman’s demands. The court ruling presents a detailed overview of the actions that resulted in Hyman’s contested dismissal. In September 2019 the supervisory board sent Hyman a warning letter, stating that he had committed the airport to obligations without permission. “The company’s reputation and integrity have been compromised,” the board stated in that letter.

On October 22 2021, Hyman was arrested together with air traffic controller René Guishard on suspicion of fraud with cleaning and repair work at the airport. When the supervisory board later asked for an explanation, Hyman refused to provide any information.

On December 3, 2021, the supervisory board recommended to the Holding that Hyman be dismissed for not providing requested information: “Mr. Hyman has grossly neglected his duties and breached the service agreement. This constitutes an urgent reason for dismissal.”

The general assembly of shareholders postponed Hyman’s dismissal on December 23, 2021, pending the results of an independent investigation. At the airport holding’s request, Hyman went voluntarily on paid leave.

Things went further south when Hyman sent a letter to Parliament and to the Council of Ministers in January 26, 2022. With this letter he “resubmitted” documents requested by members of parliament. Hyman submitted 500 pages of internal documents about the financing and the management of the SXM Airport, plus his complaint about his disturbed relationship with CEO Mark Mingo.

The supervisory board was not amused and informed Hyman that leaking this information was unacceptable. “You chose to leak selective information deliberately presenting an incomplete and inaccurate picture of the facts,” the board wrote to Hyman.

The general assembly of shareholders dismissed Hyman in its meeting of March 14, 2022, citing violation of duties and leaking of confidential information.

The court states in its ruling that Hyman’s complete silence about the accusations leveled against him amounts to gross neglect of duties and therefore is an urgent reason for dismissal.. Furthermore, the ruling states: “Leaking confidential information amounts to gross neglect of duties and to a violation of the service agreement. There are several urgent reasons and therefore PJIAE is not obliged to hire Hyman again or to pay him dismissal-compensation.”

Of all of Hyman’s demands, the court only granted the payment of his unused vacation days, an amount of approximately 11,134 guilders or $6,220.


Related links:
Read the complete court verdict in full here (Dutch)
Court supports dismissal of air traffic controller Rene Guisard