Some justice has finally been delivered for a Kenyan worker who was in February 2020 seen in a viral video being caned by his Chinese boss at Chez Wou restaurant in Kileleshwa.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court on Thursday, July 8, ruled that the petitioner, a waiter identified in court as SOS, had been subjected to inhumane treatment.
The 23-year-old petitioner moved to court last year after he was sacked for reporting the assault and mistreatment to the police. He had worked at Chez Wou between October 2019 and February 2020, earning Sh12,000 per month.
In his submissions to the court, ‘SOS’ said that throughout his employment at the restaurant, he was subjected to inhumane treatment, including physical assault and sexual molestation by his supervisor, Deng Hailan.
“The second respondent (D.H), in the course of SOS’s employment pursued the petitioner several times seeking to have anal sex with him, but the petitioner ignored him, upon which the second respondent threatened the petitioner with dire consequences,” said SOS.
SOS said his troubles at Chez Wou Restaurant started after he rejected D.H’s sexual advances.
“On or about October 2019, while on duty at around 8 pm, the second respondent attacked the petitioner and hit him on his head with a metallic cooking spoon. The petitioner suffered acute pain. Later, the petitioner experienced scary dreams at night about the sexual overture and attack by the second respondent,” said SOS through his lawyer Musyoki Mogaka.
Justice Nduma Nderi ruled that SOS suffered extreme cruelty, humiliation, psychological trauma, pain and suffering, loss of self-esteem as a result of continuous sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and confinement while being humiliated in front of his co-workers.
“The petitioner was, in addition, cajoled to engage in sex with the second respondent and was threatened verbally, abused and given corporal punishment upon resisting the advances,” the Judge held.
“The restaurant and the manager are guilty of perpetuating the egregious abuse against SOS in violation of the law in that he was not only sexually molested and physically assaulted continuously but was also subjected to psychological torture by the manager,” the court added.
Justice Nduma awarded Sh3.072 million to SOS for the inhumane treatment he was subjected to and the unfair termination of his employment contract.
“The court awards the claimant general damages of Sh3,000,000 for these human rights and fundamental freedom violations,” the court ruled.
The judge further awarded Sh72,000 (six months’ salary) in compensation for unlawful and unfair summary dismissal.
Chez Wou Restaurant, the first respondent in the case, will pay SOS the damages.
Meanwhile, the Chinese national Deng Hailan and three other administrators of Chez Wou Restaurant were deported shortly after they were arrested. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations blamed the High Court for it.
“The state placed the blame for the premature deportation at the doorstep of the High Court, which curtailed ongoing investigations of the offenders by ordering the Ministry of Interior to deport the four before completion of the investigations.”
The court ruled that the DCI cannot be blamed for the repatriation because they were following the orders of the High Court.