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Court orders MKU to pay sacked don Sh4m

Court orders MKU to pay sacked don Sh4m

By Correspondent

Mount Kenya University (MKU) has been ordered to pay a sacked lecturer Sh4.2 million for unlawful dismissal.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge, Lady Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure ordered MKU to pay Dr Catherine Wangeci Thuita the money for sacking her illegally.

Thuita had demanded Sh16 million.

In her submission, Thuita told the court she was employed by MKU as a Senior Lecturer for three years from 1st January, 2016.

She said her starting salary was Sh190,000 and was later increased to Sh350,000.

She added that there was to be a gratuity payment at the end of the contract and was also entitled to other benefits like medical cover.

Thuita said on 8th February, 2019 her contract was renewed for a period of five years from 1st January, 2019.

She told the court she was allocated further duties as a post-graduate coordinator in 2018 and 2019 at an allowance of Sh20,000 per month.

She was also to supervise Masters and Phd – students thesis at Sh5,000 per student.

Thuita told the court she was allocated other classes in December, 2019 at Sh42000 per class.

She averred that she was also entitled to 10% per month on the basic pay as her gratuity upon completion of her contract.

Thuita told the court on 6th February, 2020, MKU unlawfully terminated her employment with effect from 10th February, 2020.

She argued that her constitutional rights to fair labour practices were breached.

Thuita told the court MKU having been served with the hearing notice by Ms Wanjira & Co. Advocates on 9th February, 2021 via their email failed or neglected to put a response.

The affidavit of service was filed in court and dated 10th March, 2021.

The file records showed MKU was served with a mention notice on 16th June, 2021 and once again did not respond and hence the hearing proceeded as an undefended claim.

On 12th October, 2021, Thuita adopted her witness statement and her support documents being exhibits in the case.

In her ruling, Justice Mwaure cited Section 40 of the Employment Act which provides that an employer shall not terminate the contract of service on account of redundancy unless the employer complies with the following conditions among others:-

(a) where the employee is a member of a trade union, the employer notifies the union to which the employee is a member and the labour officer in charge of the area where the employee is employed of reasons for, and the extent of, the intended redundancy not less than a month prior to the date of the intended date of determination on account of redundancy.

(b) where an employee is not a member of a trade union, the employer notifies the employee personally in writing and the labour officer;

(c) where an employer has, in the selection of employees to be declared redundant had due regard to seniority in time and to the skill, ability and reliability of each employee of the particular class of employees affected by the redundancy.

The judge noted that MKU did not put a response and so did not prove to the court that it informed Thuita at least one month in advance that he intended to declare her redundant.

Also, MKU did not inform her in writing or the labour officer of his decision to render her redundant.

“The criteria provided in the law is that in deciding to declare an employee or employees redundant the employer must demonstrate he took regard to Seniority in time and skills, ability and reliability of employee,” the judge stated.

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