Safaricom PLC has been ordered to pay Sh.6 million for violating the rights of a man living with disabilities by denying him employment.
The court ordered the firm to pay the money as compensation for failing to hire Wilson Macharia as customer care executive on grounds the company lacked a software to aid his work.
Justice James Makau ruled that Macharia rights to be treated with dignity despite interviewing and inviting him to sign an employment contract.
“Wilson Macharia is awarded compensation under Article 23(3)(d) of the Constitution for violation of rights to be treated with dignity under Article 28 and 54(1) and for violation of rights to fair Administrative Action under Article 47 the sum of Sh.6,000,000,” Makau ordered.
The judge also declared that the act of denying Macharia an employment opportunity on the basis of his disability was not shown to amount to an act of discrimination against him nor was it discriminatory by virtue of Section 15(2) of the Person with Disabilities Act.
Macharia had accused Safaricom of denying him the job based on his disability and sued for compensation for discrimination and violation of his rights.
Macharia also sought the court to declare that his right to be treated with dignity as provided in the Constitution was and remains violated by the Safaricom company.
However, Safaricom denied the discrimination claims, arguing it gave Macharia an opportunity to be interviewed for the job.
The telecommunications operator argued that a lack of a special software made it difficult for Macharia to work as a customer care executive.
But Macharia said his request to use his personal laptop was rejected by Safaricom, citing safety reasons and the need to protect data and information from calls, SMS and M-Pesa transactions in line with the data protection laws.
According to Macharia, he applied for a customer experience executive position from through Safaricom’s career portal.
The advertvertisement clearly indicated that the company was committed to creating a “diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and invited qualified Kenyans irrespective of race, colour, religion, gender, tribal origin, disability or age.”
As per the advertisement, the company said it was committed to employing all qualified candidates right from the beginning including Persons with Disabilities and the shortlisted candidates included Macharia and other candidates were invited for a two-stage interview process on July 7, 2017.
The PWD candidates were expected to go through the same process as the others, including a computerised aptitude test and an oral interview.
But the SHL computerised aptitude test was removed for the PWDs so that they were not unduly disadvantaged by the interview process.
The special software was to be used for the technical part of the interview. Macharia went through the oral interview and medical test after the technical aspect was removed, awaiting the software integration.
He was invited to sign the contract on in July 2017 but the company said the invite was erroneous.
Safaricom later failed to hire him for lack of a system integrated to allow the software that enables visually impaired persons to work.
The company said it gave a chance to 11 other persons living with disabilities, whose disability did not affect their ability to work with the current customer service platform.