By The Weekly Vision
Jakaranda Hotel Limited which is associated with former Kiambaa MP the late Njemga Karume has been exposed by The Employment and Labour Relations Court of Kenya in a ruling dated 25th May 2023. Judge M. Mbaru made the ruling in (Cause no. E065 of 2022) in which a former employee was dismissed unfairly by the hotel the Judge awarded him compensation.
There have been complaints by hotel workers that the management of the hotel is not treating them according to standard labour practices. There have been several cases where staff were fired on flimsy grounds. Tribalism was also said to be the order of the day because the majority of staff are from one ethnic community while working for longer hours without overtime compensation.
The hotel has a high turnover of staff; a majority of them leave for greener pastures. In the case of sackings on flimsy grounds, one former employee Solomon Yawa Jackson had sued the hotel over unfair termination of services. He was employed by the respondent as a security officer and was allocated duties at the Jacaranda Indian Ocean Resort, Diani Beach. On 1st September 2019, he was promoted and transferred to Nairobi.
However, on 30th March 2021, he was directed to proceed on unpaid leave for 5 months. The claimant issued a one-month notice and resigned from employment due to his inability to provide for his family since there was no salary payment since March 2021. Upon resignation, terminal dues were not paid and there was constructive dismissal due to non-payment of salary for 24 months. The respondent did not pay NSSF dues for 6 months and without any other pension scheme being provided, service gratuity is payable.
In his appeal, Solomon Yawa Jackso was seeking Ksh. 458,433 for unpaid salaries for 24 months, Ksh. 250,000 Service pay for 5 years and Ksh. 2,400 Unremitted NSSF for 6 months. By the time of his dismissal, his salary was Ksh. 80,000 per month. He worked well for the respondent but in March 2020 he was sent home on unpaid leave, the hotel management claimed that Jackson was sent on leave following a decision of the respondent due to the Covid-19 pandemic that paralysed the hotel industry.
According to the management, the decision to issue unpaid leave was necessitated by the loss of business both locally and internationally and hence the loss of profits from 30th March 2021 despite Covid-19 having taken effect from the year 2020. The judge ruled “For unfair termination of employment, a one month pay at Ksh. 80,000 is hereby found appropriate taking into account the claimant was allowed to resign. The claimant is hereby awarded pay due from February, 2020 to March, 2021 all at Ksh. 458,433”.