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Sh267,000 award for house help who was fired

By Faith Karanja | Published Thu, August 9th 2018 at 07:56, Updated August 9th 2018 at 08:05 GMT +3

A court has compensated a house help for unfair sacking.

The Employment and Labor Relations Court in Nairobi yesterday awarded Irene Atieno Sh267,864 although she wanted Sh648,000.

Ms Atieno had worked as a house help at the home of Henry and Annete De'Souza for 12 years before her dismissal.

She went to court on August 8, 2011, claiming salary underpayment from 2004 to May 2011, severance pay, accrued leave for one year and 30 days, Sunday and public holidays worked, plus compensation for unfair termination totalling Sh648,007.25.

In a defence filed on September 18, 2011, Ms De'Souza argued that Atieno was not her regular employee and denied that she worked continuously from May 2, 1999 to May 1, 2011. She also denied the alleged underpayment and claims of unfair termination.

The suit was heard on February 21, 2018, when Atieno testified that she was employed by the De’Souzas and worked for 12 years.

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“I was paid a salary of Sh3,000 per month, which was later increased to Sh6,000,” she said, adding she was sacked in 2011 after asking for a raise.

“I used to sign a book to receive my salary, which was retained by the employer,” said Atieno.

The De'Souzas did not testify.

“I find that the claimant has proved on a balance of probability that she worked continuously as a house help until she was summarily dismissed from employment on May 1, 2011 for demanding better pay,” Justice Onesmus Makau ruled on July 31.

The judge said the termination was not justified and did not follow due process, which rendered the termination unfair within the meaning of Section 45 of the Employment Act.

But he dismissed Atieno's claim for severance pay because the termination was not through redundancy.

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