British national awarded Sh36 million for unfair dismissal

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi has ordered SGS Kenya Limited to pay a British national Tibbs Vincent Robert over Sh36 million.

Judge James Rika in a judgment delivered last week ordered the company to pay Robert a sum of Sh36, 077,885 as damages for unfair dismissal.

The Judge said the company violated Robert’s statutory and constitutional rights under the Employment Act.

As a result, Robert will be paid Sh1.2 million as general damages, Sh26.4 million as 12-month salary, Sh7.7 million as severance allowance and Sh838,010 as allowance for annual leave.

In September 2020, Robert sued the company for what he termed as unfair termination of his contract.

The court heard that Robert was hired by the company in January 2013 as an expert in Electronic Cargo Tracking System [ECTS] Services which involves real-time tracking solution for transit cargo.

Robert served as the East African Regional Manager for 7 years until July 1, 2020, when he received a notice of termination from the company.

According to him, the company did not give a reason for his termination.

Robert claimed he was discriminated against and was made to refund half of his bonus yet expatriates were given allowances to furnish their houses and allowances for their Children’s school fees.

He said they were also given expatriation allowance at the end of service while he was denied all these. He said he was evicted by his landlord until the company paid arrears of rent on the eviction date.

The company in its response said Robert was employed as an expatriate, with markedly different terms, from those of the locals. According to the company, Robert’s position was not declared redundant.

The company said it merely exercised the right to terminate the contract, through notice of three months adding there was no need to give Robert a reason.

But the court in its finding said Robert was discriminated against by being denied a benefit due to him under the company’s policy.

“The Court would agree that on this score, the claimant (Robert) was discriminated, by being denied a benefit due to him under the Respondent’s Policy,” read the judgment in part.

The court said the man was subjected to conditions that were outside the contract, policy, and law, which regulated the parties.

“The Court is satisfied that termination was not based on valid reason or reasons, under Section 43 and 45 of the Employment Act, and was therefore substantively unfair. It is declared that termination was unfair for want of substantive justification and fair procedure,” the judge said.