Woman sues employer for unfair termination of contract

NAIROBI, KENYA: A woman who was sacked for going to see a doctor to save her pregnancy has sued the American firm for unfair termination of her contract.

Caroline Nyokabi Mung’aru accused American data firm Boelist Investment Limited of unfairly sacking her last month when she was two months pregnant

“I had lost another pregnancy in 2017 and could not risk another miscarriage. So when the doctor told me to go for check-up, I went to see him against my manager’s wish. I reported to work the next day only to be given a sacking letter,” said Nyokabi.

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She is demanding to be reinstated in her position as Operations and Customer Care Representative or be compensated Sh480,000 being the payment of six months’ salary for the remainder of her contract.

Nyokabi stated in her suit filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court that she has diligently worked for the company since 2006 and has never had any misconduct or disciplinary issues until February 20 when she fell sick.

She swore that she went to see a doctor when her condition worsened and sought sick-leave from her manager who gave her the permission to seek treatment.

“I was treated and given three days sick-leave after the doctor confirmed that I was two-months pregnant. Because of the pregnancy, the doctor gave me another appointment on March 1 for a follow up to check my condition,” said Nyokabi.

She stated that she was scheduled to take an off-duty on February 28 but requested the company management to change it to March 1 to give her opportunity to see the doctor.

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On February 28, she reported to work with hopes of being given the next day off but the manager insisted that she goes back home and report the following day.

Nyokabi insisted of being on duty and explained to the head of operations and the human resource manager about her condition and the intended visit to the doctor but they declined and told her to instead ask for another sick-leave.

“I decided to honour the doctor’s appointment since I feared losing my pregnancy as happened in 2017. Because I failed to report to work, I received a message from the management telling me to return the office phone when I report to work the next day,” swore Nyokabi.

She was summoned by the management when she went to work the following day and issued with termination letter on the basis of misconduct.

The company in its response has however denied unfair termination of her employment, stating that she is to blame for being rendered jobless.

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“She unprofessionally and against the prescribed company procedures attempted to get a day off when she had enough time to communicate about the intention to see a doctor. Her absence disrupted and significantly reduced the company’s productivity,” said the firm.

According to the company, Nyokabi showed defiance and disobedience to her managers by refusing to listen to them when they denied her permission to go see the doctor, and that it was not the first time she was defying her managers.

Nyokabi is seeking a declaration that the company mistreated her and want to be paid general damages for the unfair dismissal.

Boelist Investment LimitedEmployment and Labour Relations Court