House Help Awarded Sh50,000 Despite Losing Compensation Case Against Employer

March 10, 2023

A househelp who lost her job after she was arrested for robbery in the Nairobi neighbourhood she was working has lost her suit against her former employer.

Josephine Khatenje had sued Eunice Ouko for allegedly terminating her employment unfairly.

She testified that Ouko employed her on July 2, 2011, earning a monthly salary of Sh12,500 inclusive of house allowance.

Khatenje said she worked diligently until November 28, 2014, when she was arrested in connection with the theft of a motor vehicle in Ouko’s neighbour’s compound.

She testified that she was released on bond on June 26, 2016, and resumed work at Ouko’s house.

On July 25, 2016, however, Khatenje said Ouko terminated her services without any valid reason, notice to show cause and or any hearing.

She accused her employer of unlawfully retaining her national identification card, voter card and clothes.

Khatenje also claimed that she worked overtime and was never paid. She said she was not paid gratuity nor for leave days not taken.

Additionally, Khatenje said she was not registered with National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund.

In response to the allegations, Ouko testified that she had employed Khatenje as a house help from July 2011 up to November 2014.

She said after Khatenje was arrested, she paid her money while she was in custody and the cash payment was witnessed by a police officer and that she also signed for it.

Ouko told the court that Khatenje did not go back to work for her after she was released.

The employee confirmed that the claimant’s identification card and clothes were released to her through her lawyers.

She also insisted she did not owe Khatenje any terminal benefits and that she did not terminate her employment.

Ouko however admitted she did not pay National Social Security Fund and National Hospital Insurance Fund for Khatenje.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Mathew Nderi ruled that Ouko did not terminate the employment of the claimant.

He said there was no evidence to prove that Ouko terminated the employment of Khatenje as alleged or at all.

“The prayer for a declaration that the respondent terminated the employment of the claimant lacks merit and is dismissed. The claimant is therefore not entitled to payment of any compensation,” the judge ruled on February 23.

Judge Nderi however found that the only viable claim was for payment of service gratuity for the period of four years Khatenje worked for Ouko since she admitted that she did not pay National Hospital Insurance Fund and National Social Security Fund.

“The court, therefore, awards the claimant service gratuity in terms of section 35(5) of the Employment Act, 2007 in the sum of Sh50,000”, Justice Nderi ruled.

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