Employment and Labour Relations Court has declined to strike out Kituo cha Sheria director’s name from a case filed by an employee claimed to have sexually harassed her male colleague.
Justice Byrum Ongaya in his ruling stated that the employee codenamed VA had made specific allegations against Dr Annette Mbogoh, which would render her liable in claims of breach of the petitioner’s labour and constitutional rights.
At the same time, the judge dismissed VA’s application seeking to suspend Kituo’s decision to sack her. The judge was of the view that the argument was now water under the bridge as the rights group had already communicated its decision.
VA had asked the court to preserve the position until her case against the lobby group is hard and determined. “The prayers to preserve the vacancy flowing from the termination is opposed on account that the temporary injunction as prayed for is capable of being remedied with damages. The court agrees as already stated that damages are available in the circumstances of the case,” said Justice Ongaya. At the heart of the case was claims that VA was fired for referring to a male employee as a ‘baby boy' and ‘boy lollipop.’
In the case, Mbogoh told the court that a complaint was made against the petitioner on April 24, 2023. It is alleged the VA was involved in sexual harassment of the employee who she had supervisory control.
The petitioner was accused of repeatedly using the term “baby boy” and “boy lollipop” when referring to him without his consent.
According to Mbogo, sexual advances were verbal and physical. VA was also accused of micro-managing of staff, favouritism and lack of collegiality. Kituo cha Sheria's boss said that this resulted in an unhealthy work environment that affected the mental health of staff.
"The board adopted the committee’s findings and resolved to terminate the petitioner’s employment and the decision was implemented by the letter dated November 11, 2022,” said Mbogoh, adding that VA appealed the decision five days later.
Mbogoh said she had been unlawfully dragged into the case as a party yet her role was limited to supervising VA in the course of her duties and undertaking any instructions issued by the board of directors. In her defence, VA argued that she was fired without an opportunity to be heard. She complained that the employer did not follow the human resource manual.
She said Kituo cha Sheria and Mbogoh violated her rights to fair labour practices, non-discrimination, fair administrative action and fair hearing. "The applicant prays for a permanent order prohibiting or restraining the respondents, their servants, officials, representatives, and/or agents from advertising or having so advertised, from acting thereupon, interviewing, recruiting or otherwise in any other manner replacing the applicant in her position,” her court papers read.
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