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Court Orders Compensation for Two Fired Due to Traffic Delay Caused by Lucy Kibaki Funeral Convoy

A court has ordered Bliss Healthcare Limited to compensate two former employees fired for reporting to work late.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Stella Rutto heard that Lucy Wanja and Augustine Sitati were late to work due to traffic caused by former first lady Lucy Kibaki’s funeral convoy.

“The hospital did not satisfy the requirement of substantive fairness as no reason was advanced to justify the termination of employment. The claimants are entitled to compensation equivalent to four months’ salary and one-month salary in lieu of notice,” Rutto said.

Wanja was before her sacking a nurse earning a monthly salary of Sh25,000 while Sitati worked as a laboratory technician pocketing Sh35,000 monthly.

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Justice Rutto ordered that Wanja be compensated Sh125,000 and Sitati Sh175,000.

Wanja and Sitati were on May 7, 2016, 30 minutes late to work on their way to the hospital via Thika Road.

On the said day, there was unusual traffic as a section of the road was closed to pave way for Lucy’s funeral convoy.

According to the two, when they arrived at the hospital, they were summoned to the nursing room and asked to explain.

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The court also ordered that another employee, Stella Gitonga receive Sh107 million compensation. Her contract was terminated after she failed to report to work because her son was ill.

Gitonga who was a data clerk said she informed the human resource manager that she would not come in to work as he child was sick.

Later that day, the court heard, her employer called informing her that her contract had been terminated.

Justice Rutto ruled that the hospital treated the trio unfairly and did not explain the reason for the sackings.

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“The hospital acted contrary to Section 45 (2) of the Employment Act which provides that a termination of employment is unfair if the employer fails to prove that the reason for the termination is valid, fair and relates to the employee’s conduct or capacity,” she ruled.

“It is not sufficient that the employer spells out the reason for the termination. The same must be justified and ought to be valid and fair.”

The total awards, justice Rutto ruled, will include 12 per cent interest from the end of this month until payment in full.

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