Court Orders Mediheal Hospitals To Compensate Former Staff For Unfair Dismissal

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru has now ordered Mediheal Group of hospitals to pay a former employee Joseph Chandoek Ksh. 475,057.20 for what Judge David Nderitu, through a judgment dated October 12, 2023, termed an unfair termination of employment. Mediheal Group of Hospitals founder is former Kesses Constituency MP Dr S.R. Mishra, who has come under heavy criticism for mistreating employees and arbitrarily sacking on flimsy grounds without compensation.

 In his memorandum of claim, Chandoek pleaded that he was engaged by the hospital as a laundry operator on November 8, 2011, at an agreed gross salary of Ksh. 4,500 per month. The said monthly salary was increased and enhanced from time to time, and by the time the claimant left employment, the same stood at Ksh. 12,858.

 It is alleged that Chandoek worked a 12-hour shift daily without compensation for overtime beyond the recommended eight-hour shift. It is also alleged that for the entire period that he worked for the hospital, he was not allowed to take his annual leave, except for two years out of six, and that he was not compensated for the accrued leave. Regarding the circumstances leading to his alleged wrongful and unlawful dismissal, the claimant pleads that a co-worker, Evans, left a bag with a gatekeeper, Chebet, who handed over the bag to him for safekeeping.

 He was issued a letter of suspension on February 15, 2018, and was later verbally dismissed by the general manager, who informed him that his terminal dues would be paid through his bank account. He alleges that a sum of Ksh. 9,000 was paid into his bank account, which he considers a slap in the face as the same did not cater for what he considered to be his rightful terminal benefits.

It is his position that the dismissal was wrongful and unfair, as it fell short of the provisions in the Employment Act and lacked both substantive and procedural fairness. He alleges that he was not informed of the charges against him, the evidence gathered, and that he was not invited to a hearing to defend himself. Further, it was his pleading that he was grossly underpaid during his entire period of employment with the respondent. It is further alleged and pleaded that the hospital’s management failed, refused, or neglected to issue him a certificate of service.

 The judge noted that during the hearing in court, it was admitted that Chandoek was neither invited nor heard in a disciplinary hearing. No evidence has been tendered to establish that indeed he was engaged in misconduct and exactly what laws, rules, guidelines, policies, or regulations he broke by possessing a bag of clothes that allegedly belonged to a co-worker.

 The judgement reads in part “In those circumstances, this court comes to the logical and reasonable conclusion and holds that the respondent unfairly and wrongfully dismissed the claimant without notice and without affording him both substantive and procedural fairness as envisaged by the law under Sections 41, 43, 45, and 47 of the Act”.

The judge further reads, “In the final disposal of this cause, this court issues the following orders:

  1. a) A declaration is and is hereby issued that the termination of the claimant by the respondent amounted to wrongful, unfair, and unlawful dismissal.
  2. b) The claimant is awarded a total of Kshs. 475,057.20, made up as follows:
  3. Compensation for wrongful dismissal (Kshs. 222,480.00)
  4. Underpayments (Kshs.132,887.20)

iii. Pay for public holidays worked (Kshs. 45,530)

Notice Pay (Ksh. 18,540)

Leave pay (Ksh. 55,620)

Total (Ksh.475,057.20).