Manager sues employer for Sh32 million compensation over harassment claims

Anne Njugi Wynne,  is seeking compensation of Sh32 million from Conservation International Foundation  for her distressing and harmful experience in the organisation. [Standard,file]

A senior manager has filed a lawsuit against her employer, Conservation International Foundation, alleging unfair treatment at work.

Anne Njugi Wynne,  is seeking compensation of Sh32 million for the distressing and harmful experience she claims to have endured, including bullying and harassment by her boss, Suzanne Ngo-Eyok, who serves as the organization's Senior Vice President, Africa.

The case was lodged on May 25, 2023, through the law firm OLL Law LLP Advocates at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi's Milimani Commercial Court.

Wynne is requesting that the Conservation International Foundation be held accountable and required to pay her Sh32, 370,152.95 as part of her compensation.

Conservation International is an environmental organization that works to protect nature and promote sustainable development.

The organization was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States with operations in more than 30 countries across four continents.

According to court documents, Wynne was initially employed by the organization on January 26, 2016, and later promoted to the position of Senior Administrative Manager and Executive Assistant on July 1, 2021.

She accuses Eyok of bullying, harassment, retaliation, and abuse during her employment.

“During my employment with the Conservation International Foundation, I have been subjected to countless acts of bullying, abuse, and discrimination,” said Wynne.

She further accuses Eyok, who assumed the role of Senior Vice President in the organization in September 2022, of harassment.

Wynne cited specific incidents in October 2022, January 2023, and February 2023 where she alleges Eyok bullied, disrespected, and frustrated her.

At the same time, she mentioned instances in June and July 2021 where she claims to have been bullied, harassed, and subjected to “snarky remarks” by the organization's Programs Operations Director, Judy Stanley.

"During this period, Judy Stanley informally instructed me to cover for Amanda Obadha, who had gone on leave. Despite not receiving any handover notes and lacking experience in supporting program administration, Judy Stanley did not respond well to my request for information and guidance," stated Wynne in court documents.

 She further added, "Instead of providing me with the necessary information and support, Judy Stanley was dismissive during various phone conversations and belittled me for not thinking on my feet, not being proactive, and not using my initiative."

Wynne explains that within the distressing work environment, she encountered a multitude of formidable challenges that eventually culminated in her undergoing a mental breakdown.

As a consequence, she states that she has received an official diagnosis of severe depression, along with accompanying conditions such as panic attacks, intense anxiety, and insomnia.