- Simon Gitau Gichuru’s tribulations started in 2013 when he was diagnosed with tumor and had to seek treatment in India.
- Gichuru was the firms operations manager having been employed on January 1, 2010.
It is a sigh of relief for a physically handicapped man who was sacked by an insurance company in August 2014.
This is after the Supreme Court directed Package Insurance Brokers Limited to pay him KSh4.8 million, after Justices Philomena Mwilu, Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndungu and Isaac Lenaola declared that Simon Gitau Gichuru was unfairly dismissed.
According to the apex court judges, the sacking of Gichuru, who at the time was the firm’s operations manager having been employed on January 1, 2010, due to illness amounted to indirect indiscrimination.
Gichuru’s long path to justice
On October 19, 2017, the Employment and Labour Relations Court awarded Gichuru KSh7,781,450. The amount included KSh5,000,000 as damages for discrimination, KSh2,384,100 as compensation for 12 months’ salary for unlawful and unfair termination and a further KSh198,675 as one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
Package Insurance Brokers, however, appealed the ruling at the Court of Appeal. The firm argued that Judge J Ndolo erred in awarding KSh5 million in damages for discrimination, insisting that the court did not demonstrate how Gichuru was discriminated.
Diagnosed with tumor
In 2013, Gichuru was diagnosed with tumor and had to seek treatment in India. After a successful spinal cord surgery, he was able to resume duty on February 10, 2014.
However, he was unable to execute his duties without the help of an aid, prompting the firm to subject him to sick leave. He was on sick leave for seven months with the response on his medical status delaying, prompting the firm to sack him.
“Notwithstanding the above circumstances, this company is in need of productivity. We, therefore, give notice that we have no alternative but to suspend your employment together with all accruing benefits 30 days from the date of this letter,” wrote S.N. Mwangi, the firm’s director.
Acccording to court documents, the employer disregarded Gichuru’s medical report that had said he is improving health-wise and suspended him.
After he filed notice of motion protesting his suspension, the company summarily dismissed him on grounds of gross misconduct on August 1, 2014.