George Otieno, a pharmacist and former employee of Medimart Health Ltd has been awarded Sh 14,000 by the court after 5-year termination battle.
Having been fired for misusing his employer’s phone, he filed a case against the company at Employment and Labour Relations Court.
Mr. Otieno said his former employer accused him of misusing the office phone to make personal calls. He, however, admits having used it to make two urgent calls to his father and sibling.
According to the court, Otieno earned Sh7 per day for all the years the case has been going on.
Interestingly, Mr. Otieno will now have to carry the cost burden for his legal representation.
Mr. Otieno explained to the Court that his first salary when he joined the company in 2013 was Sh. 28,000after which the amount would be reviewed to Ksh 30,000.
He told the court that his employer didn’t give him a fair hearing as he was ambushed with a dismissal letter without an opportunity to defend himself.
From the court records, Otieno demanded a compensation amounting to Sh400, 000 to cater for the one month’s notice, unpaid leave allowance, and 12 months’ salary.
On the other hand, Medimart said that Mr. Otieno was fired before completing his probation period hence he could not claim he was sacked unfairly.
Medimart further defended itself saying that, the telephone bills had greatly escalated following unauthorized employee calls.
According to the company, a verbal warning was issued to employees regarding the misuse of the office phone before a written memo was shared.
“Due to unsustainable bills after unauthorized calls, Medimart issued a warning to its employees. The other employees complied but the claimant did not,”
The company provided a list of unauthorized calls Mr. Otieno made which showed he had carried the office phone home on two occasions.
Thereafter, Judge Linet Ndolo ruled that Otieno was entitled to seven days’ leave only as he was still under probation by the time he was dismissed and was awarded Sh7, 000 for that and Sh7, 000 leave allowances for the seven days he had served.
The court dismissed the case saying the unlawful termination claim by Mr. Otieno had no basis in law.
How do you prove unlawful termination during probation?
When you feel you have been unlawfully terminated, you need to prove that the termination was indeed unlawful.
An employer can terminate your employment during probation for any reason and it won’t be seen as unfair termination.
So before an employer decides to fire you during your probation period, they are supposed to give you 7 days’ notice before dismissing you.
Source: The Standard, October 2, 2018