Office Cleaner Beats Boss in Court

Milimani Law Courts
Milimani Law Courts that hosts a number of courts within the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

A female office cleaner has won Ksh75,000 with interest in a court case against her employer for wrongful dismissal without notice.

The Nairobi-based employer was also given 30 days from the date the judgment was made to issue a Certificate of Service to the employee.

According to a ruling made by Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Mathews N. Nduma on August 24, the employee was unfairly dismissed in 2019 after serving at the company for 14 months.

"The Court is satisfied that the respondent (employee) did not abscond work but was dismissed unlawfully and unfairly without notice or payment in lieu of notice," the judge ruled.

Aerial view of Nairobi City
A photo of the aerial view of Nairobi City
Kenya Pics

The cleaner received Ksh15,000 in lieu of one-month notice and Ksh60,000 in compensation from the employer.

Judge Nduma ruled that the Ksh75,000 award will be paid to the employee and the money will be subjected to interest at court rates.

Court documents revealed the employee worked at the cleaning company for about 14 months from 2018 to 2019. The company was outsourced to clean office spaces across the city.

She was however fired without notice days after her leave. She complained that she suffered loss and damage after the sudden loss of her employment without notice or any valid reason. The cleaner also lost her support and that of her child.

Unsatisfied by the decision, she filed a complaint in court against the employer demanding compensation including a 15 per cent housing allowance.

In August 2019, a judge awarded her Ksh224,250 compensation inclusive of Ksh29,250 housing allowance, Ksh15,000 in lieu of one-month notice, and 12 months salary compensation.

Following the ruling, the employer appealed arguing the judge awarded the employee housing allowance she was not entitled to.

"Accordingly, the claim for payment of house allowance was not proved at all before the trial Court, and the Learned Magistrate erred in awarding the amount sought by the respondent as unpaid house allowance. This award is set aside accordingly for lack of any proof," Judge Nduma declared.

In the recent ruling by Judge Nduma, the initial compensation was slashed to Ksh75,000. 

"The Court sets aside the award of the equivalent of 12 months' salary in compensation and substitutes the award to be the equivalent of four (4) months’ salary in compensation in the sum of Ksh 60,000," he stated.

A photo of the Court of Appeal Bench.
A photo of the Court Bench
The Judiciary of Kenya