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Sacked Penitentiary Department Employee Denied Final Pay, Takes Issue to Court

An employee of the Penitentiary Department of Armenia’s Ministry of Justice, E. H., was laid off from his job in 2015 after working for over 4 years; the man, however, has yet to be given his last paycheck. Officials at the Penitentiary Department have told E.H. that according to a law adopted in 2014, state servants are not eligible for a final wage. The man has taken the dispute to court, and according to lawyer Arayik Papikyan, his client has presented all the facts necessary to win the case.

“In recent years, the mechanism for sacking employees of the Penitentiary Department in particular have not been regulated by the Labor Code. The Department says they are guided the Penitentiary Code, which states that the Labor Code does not apply to these legal relations. The same law [of the Penitentiary Code], however, says that the matters not regulated by this law should be regulated by the Labor Code. And this applies to the issue of the so-called ‘final paycheck,’” Papikyan said in an interview with Epress.am.

The lawyer added that his client had a right to a final pay during the years of his employment, but was denied one based on the 2014 law: “He did not sign any new employment agreement after the adoption of this law; besides, this law has no retrospective effect.”

The trial, according to Papikyan, has revealed that his client is not the only former Penitentiary Department employee to be denied a final paycheck. Over the past 2-3 years, he said, dozens of people have been fired on various grounds without receiving their final wages.

“All those people who worked in the department [before the adoption of the 2014 law] could easily go to court and demand their overdue wages,” Papikyan insisted.