Nyeri Labour court has awarded an office messenger Sh234, 000 for unfair dismissal on grounds of pregnancy.
Caroline Wambui Nderitu moved to court through Gori Advocates contending that she was wrongly sacked by Dr Ignatius Muturi on November 1, 2014 through a phone call.
Nderitu told Judge Byram Ongaya that she was earning a monthly salary of Sh18, 000 and was also entitled to 30 days per year for annual leave.
Before the court, she prayed for compensation for wrongful dismissal to a maximum of 12 months’ wages and general damages emoluments at a rate of 15 per cent of the total which amounts to Sh216, 000.
Prior to formal appointment she had served on probationary terms following an interview on June 14, 2014 and after undergoing a medical test including confirmation that she was not pregnant.
In response, Muturi testified that he sacked Ms Nderitu for deserting duty following a theft in the office where he lost unspecified amount of money. She had served for less than one year.
He said he reported the matter to police but Ms Nderitu never went back to office after recording statement with police. Nderitu’s case was that she learned about her two weeks’ pregnancy in early September 2014 and Dr Muturi learned about the pregnancy when she consulted him following a minor complication with the pregnancy.
He also said Ms Nderitu had been dishonest in failing to disclose her pregnancy at the time of her employment. He added that Ms Nderitu was not subjected to medical check-up or pregnancy test prior to employment.
While passing the judgment, Judge Ongaya observed that nothing prevented Dr Muturi from subjecting the former employee to disciplinary process involving a notice and a hearing on account of the misconduct of absence without leave.
The court said it was unfair and discriminatory to dismiss an employee on account of pregnancy and the move was aggravating factor and gross violation of her freedom from discrimination.
The court ordered that she be awarded Sh216, 000 for the unfair termination plus Sh18, 000 being one month pay in lieu of the termination notice.