TOYOTA KENYA TO COMPENSATE FORMER MANAGER FOR ILLEGAL SACKING.

0
624
Toyota Kenya Limited which has been ordered to pay millions to former Financial Manager Abigael Munyinyi over unlawful dismissal.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Toyota Kenya has been ordered to pay a former top manager over Sh6 million for illegal sacking.

Justice Linnet Ndolo ordered the car dealer to pay its former financial Manager Abigael Munyinyi Sh6.24 million for dismissing her in 2019.

The judge further ruled that a meeting held on February 20, 2019 could not pass for a disciplinary hearing as required by Section 41 of the Employment Act. 

“At best, this was an investigative meeting which ought to have been followed by a duly convened disciplinary meeting with adequate lead time for the Claimant to prepare her defence,” the judge said.

The judge said there was no valid reason for dismissing Munyinyi hence she should be compensated for wrongful and unfair dismissal.

“In the result, I award the Claimant twelve months’ salary in to account the compensation. In arriving at this award, I have taken into Claimant’s long service and the Respondent’s unlawful conduct in bringing the employment relationship to an end,” ruled the Judge.

The former manager was employed by Toyota Kenya in March 2007 as an assistant management accountant. She was promoted to the position of Finance Manager on August 9, 2016.

She told the court that she had a stellar performance record throughout her employment with Toyota Kenya.

Through lawyer Omondi Ogutu, she said that she was suspended on 15th February 2019, to allow Toyota Kenya to conduct investigations, following a forensic audit report on ‘the Hino Special Service Campaign Project’.

Munyinyi said she was later served with a show cause letter, citing allegations of her culpability which led to an estimated loss of Sh20 million. She was then required to respond by 3pm on February 18, 2018.

The former manager was then invited for a disciplinary hearing on the same date she was suspended and directed to provide a written response to the show cause letter, based on an incomplete investigation.

She argued that it was procedurally unfair to invite her for a disciplinary hearing before receipt and consideration of her response to the notice to show cause.

She told the court that the move clearly showed a predetermined decision to terminate her employment.

The court heard that the draft forensic report was prepared by Deloitte, a consultancy firm which is not part of the structural organs or departments of and or within the Respondent, which firm also sat in the proceedings leading to her dismissal.

She further said the employer declined to furnish her with a copy of the forensic report.

Munyinyi also accused Toyota Kenya of ceding control of the disciplinary proceedings as to officials Dennis Nganga and Eric Thuku, sat in the proceedings.

She states that the meeting was investigative in nature and not a disciplinary hearing as defined in law.

Further, it was her argument that there is no provision in the Toyota’s Employee Handbook that permits third parties to sit in disciplinary committees of the company.

She added that the meeting of 27th February 2019, at which she was served with the dismissal letter, was not properly constituted as it was only the Human Resource Manager present, while the Handbook requires a witness to be present.

She took issue with the letter of summary dismissal for lack of clarity on the reason for dismissal.

She asserted that even though she was involved in the Special Service Campaign, by virtue of her being the Finance Manager, the Respondent did not provide a job description, terms of reference or key performance indicators on control of costs specifically related to the Project.

Toyota Kenya admitted that she was suspended by letter dated 15th February 2019, to pave way for further investigations into allegations of gross misconduct.

The Toyota car dealer stated that the Claimant was given an abridged version of the investigation report, which was in relation to her only and explained that it could not have given the whole report to the Claimant because the report discussed other employees as well and such information was classified and confidential and inconsequential to the Claimant’s case.

The company further stated that after conclusion of the investigations, the Claimant was issued with a notice to show cause, giving her an opportunity to respond to the issues giving rise to her suspension.

Toyota Kenya argued that the suspension was lifted and adds that the meeting of 20th February 2019 was a proper disciplinary hearing. The Respondent takes the view that in any event, there is no legal requirement that a suspension must be lifted before a disciplinary hearing is held.

The company claimed that the disciplinary hearing was conducted in full compliance with the law, with the Claimant being accompanied by the Respondent’s Credit Manager, Alice Munene.

LEAVE A REPLY