BY SAM ALFAN.
A law firm associated with Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki has been ordered to pay Sh2.2 million to an advocate it sacked for declining to take an unpaid maternity leave.
Justice Nduma Nderi of Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered Prof Kindiki who runs Kithure Kindiki & Associate to pay Yasmin Josephine Mokaya award Sh2,274,051 for the sacking.
The court ruled that the law firm violated the constitutional right of the advocate not to be discriminated on grounds of pregnancy.
The Judge awarded the young lawyer exemplary damages of Sh1.5 million for the action.
“In the final analysis, judgment is entered in favour of the petitioner against the respondent as follows equivalent of six months compensation for unlawful and unfair termination of employment,” Judge Nderi ruled.
Mokaya moved to court seeking declaration that her termination of service by the law firm was based on her pregnancy and therefore discriminatory, unfair, unlawful, and in violation of the Employment Act, the contract of Employment and the Constitution.
She argued that her termination on grounds of redundancy was a breach of her right to fair labour practices and fair administrative action as per Articles 41 and 47 of the Constitution.
She asked the court to direct the firm to pay to her full salary for the remaining period of the contract, which was between April to December, 2018.
The court heard that she joined the firm as a pupil on June 2, 2015 and she was admitted to the bar and became an advocate and was retained by the company on January 1, 2016.
Mokaya said she served on contractual basis and her last contract was renewed on December 29, 2017 for a period of one year commencing on January 1, 2018 and was to end on December32, 2018.
She continued working diligently and in an exemplary manner until her employment was unlawfully and unprocedurally terminated.
She added that on or about the January 26, 2018 she informed the firm that she was pregnant and that she intended to proceed for her maternity leave from the March 5, 2018 to June 5, 2018.
The leave was approved but to her surprise, the approval of the maternity leave was withdrawn with no sufficient reason and or explanation.
She was then informed by the law firm that she should forfeit any payment and benefits due to her while on maternity leave before the leave could subsequently be authorized.