TUKO Media Limited has been ordered to pay a former employee Ksh853,704 as compensation for unlawful termination.
In the ruling made by Justice Ndolo of the Employment and Labour Court in Nairobi, the former employee will receive the money equivalent to eight months' pay.
"I award the Claimant eight (8) months’ salary in compensation. In arriving at this award, I have taken into account the Claimant’s length of service, the Respondent’s unlawful conduct in the termination transaction, and the Claimant’s averment that he is still unemployed," the judge ruled.
According to the court documents, the employee who worked as a cameraman was sacked while on paternity leave in 2021.
The staffer was retrenched on redundancy grounds, however, around the same time another person was hired.
"According to the Respondent, the redundancy occurred due to the elimination of the Claimant’s position within the Company arising from poor financial performance of the Department where the Claimant was deployed," read part of the court documents.
The employee had also complained of discrimination at the media house adding that he was denied headphones despite the nature of his work being heavily reliant on them.
However, while he sought to be reinstated as an employee at the company, the court declined to grant the prayer.
In its defense, the media house argued that the decision to lay off the employee was based on sustainability reasons, saying that the retrenched personnel was the highest earning in the technical department.
To this end, Justice Ndolo ruled that there were no prior complaints of the employee's performance and the cost of maintaining an employee was not a valid consideration of redundancy.
Under Section 40(1)(c) of the Employment Act an employer is required to follow an objective selective criterion for redundancy, which takes into account the seniority, skill, ability, and reliability of each employee affected by the redundancy.
The media house also claimed it paid the cameraman Ksh54,373 in excess but no evidence was adduced to back up the claims hence it was dismissed by the court.
In the termination letter, the media house informed the cameraman that he would receive Ksh80,000 in lieu of notice, Ksh200,000 severance pay, and Ksh84,597 for 23 untaken leave days, as well as a Certificate of Service.
"We regret the situation, however, as you have been informed, your employment will terminate on 2nd December 2021. This decision is not a reflection of your performance. Thank you for your valuable contribution during your employment with us," read part of the letter.