A firm associated with Tharaka Nithi senator Kithure Kindiki has been ordered to pay a lawyer over Sh2.2 million for wrongful dismissal.
Yasmin Josephine Mokaya will receive Sh2,274,051 in compensation after the law firm violated her constitutional rights by unlawfully terminating her employment.
“Kindiki’s decision to fire the lawyer after she refused to take a three months unpaid maternity leave violated her constitutional right against discrimination on grounds of pregnancy,” ruled Justice Mathews Nduma.
The payment was broken down as follows; Sh1.5 million as damages for violation of her rights, Sh552,894 (equivalent to six months compensation for unlawful and unfair termination of employment), Sh129,008 (compensation for unspent leave days) and Sh92,149 (her one month salary in lieu of notice).
Justice Nduma found that the law firm let her go on grounds that she was pregnant.
“The court finds and declares that Kindiki violated Section 5(3) (a) of the Employment Act (2007) read with Article 27(4) of the Constitution for terminating the employment of Mokaya on account of her pregnancy. The conduct by Kindiki was discriminatory, unfair, and unlawful,” said the judge.
The court also found that the youthful lawyer lost prospects of career progression in a good law firm on unjust grounds.
Ms Mokaya told the court that she joined the law firm in 2015 as a trainee and was retained upon passing the bar in January 2016.
In 2018, she informed the firm of her intentions to proceed on her statutory three-month maternity leave from March 5 to June 5, 2018, which was duly approved.
The chairman, Kindiki, rescinded the decision and instead asked that she proceeded on unpaid leave, failure to which her employment would be terminated.
After declining the offer, Ms Mokaya received a notice of termination of her employment written by Senator Kindiki dated March 1, 2018, to take effect on March 31.
The firm indicated that the reason for the termination was due to financial constraints.
But according to the lawmaker, the lawyer had been retained on an ex-gratia basis. Her performance, Kindiki said, was slightly below average.
The judge, however, dismissed Kindiki’s argument as the firm had replaced Ms Mokaya with a Lilian Nyaga.
“l dismissed claims that the dismissal was due to financial constraints because, after the termination, she was replaced with another advocate named Lilian Nyaga,” ruled Justice Nduma.