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Court orders Safaricom to pay former manager Sh14m for dismissal

By Julius Chepkwony | March 16th 2020

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered Safaricom Limited to pay a former customer care director over Sh14.5 million for unfair dismissal.

Pauline Wangeci had worked with the company for seven years, between December 2007 and March 2015.

Wangeci sued the company claiming she was not subjected to any form of disciplinary action during the entire period.

She averred that on March 20, 2015, while at Strathmore Business School attending a two-week programme sponsored and paid for by the company, she was called by the office of the chief executive officer allegedly for an urgent appraisal.

She attempted to reschedule the appraisal on grounds that she was in the middle of a continuous assessment test at the school, but this was declined.

Wangeci, as per court documents, said she arrived at the CEO’s office who called in the director of human resources. The CEO then informed her that he had decided that they should mutually separate.

She was immediately led to the boardroom where the director, corporate affairs and legal services, was waiting with the mutual separation agreement.

Since everything was so abrupt, she did not sign the agreement as requested to consult her family first. She was thereafter escorted out of Safaricom premises. 

On the same day, the CEO sent communication to all employees announcing senior leadership changes, necessitated by a disconnect with customers. The CEO further sent out a press release to the effect that Wangeci had opted to step down to pursue personal interests.

Wangeci signed the mutual separation agreement on March 24, 2015, which she avers was under duress and coercion.

She claimed the company unlawfully and maliciously disparaged and damaged her character and reputation through media channels and in meetings held at the place of work. Her termination, she said, was wrongful.

Safaricom, in its response, stated that Wangeci’s department had for a period of time systematically doctored performance reports with her knowledge and connivance to show higher performance so as to meet targets.

The company claimed it received information through its whistle-blower system of alleged doctoring of performance reports in the customer care centre headed by Wangeci.

Justice Maureen Onyango ruled the dismissal of Wangeci was unfair and awarded her Sh14,552,600 as compensation.

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