Legit Media Group, the owners of the popular digital news website TUKO, have been ordered by the court to pay a former employee Ksh853,704 as compensation for unlawfully terminating his employment.
While issuing her ruling Justice Linet Ndolo of the Employment and Labour Court said that the money is equivalent to eight months of the former employee’s salary.
“I award the Claimant eight (8) months’ salary in compensation. In arriving at this award, I have taken into account the Claimant’s length of service, the Respondent’s unlawful conduct in the termination transaction, and the Claimant’s averment that he is still unemployed,” said the judge.
The former employee, who worked as a cameraman, was dismissed after taking paternity leave in 2021.
Although the employee was terminated citing redundancy, another individual was subsequently hired to fill the same role.
The former employee had requested reinstatement, which the court declined.
According to Legit Media Group’s defense, the decision to lay off the employee was due to sustainability concerns, with the retrenched staff member being the highest earner in the technical department.
Justice Ndolo, however, ruled that there were no prior complaints about the employee’s performance and that the cost of retaining an employee was not a valid consideration for redundancy.
The judge emphasized that, under Section 40(1)(c) of the Employment Act, employers must follow an objective selective criterion for redundancy, taking into account factors such as seniority, skill, ability, and reliability when determining which employees are affected by the redundancy.