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Employee who was sacked to be paid Sh2m

Lucy Chepkemoi filed a lawsuit in November 2020 accusing the company of discrimination. [File, Standard]

A Kericho-based tea company has been ordered to pay a former employee over Sh2 million for unfair dismissal.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Onesmus Makau ruled that a decision by Sotik Tea Company Limited to sack Lucy Chepkemoi in May 2017 on alleged medical grounds was unfair and awarded her Sh2.156 million.

Ms Chepkemoi was employed as a secretary in April 2006. She was diagnosed with an eye disorder in 2014 and despite receiving treatment, lost her eyesight in 2016.

The tea company terminated her employment through a letter dated May 19, 2017, citing medical grounds. 

Aggrieved by the decision, Ms Chepkemoi filed a lawsuit in November 2020 accusing the company of discrimination.

The company, however, denied that the termination was unfair, unlawful, and discriminatory. The court heard that Ms Chepkemoi was moved to the main store where she was assigned light duties.

The company claimed Ms Chepkemoi faced the risk of injury, citing an incident where she fell and was injured, leading her to take medical leave of 187 days with full pay.

But the court found that the termination was done without first providing Ms Chepkemoi with reasonable accommodation with a view of enabling her to continue working.

As such, the termination amounted to discrimination and violation of her right to fair labour practices and fair administrative action.