Telecom company ordered to pay ex-employee UGX35m over unlawful dismissal

CEO Netis Uganda Ltd Sherif Maher gives a speech at the company’ end year party in December 2016. Courtesy photo.

The Industrial Court in Kampala has ordered a telecommunication infrastructure providing company NETIS to pay a former employee Charles Walakira, UGX35 million over unlawful dismissal.

Ruling on an appeal by NETIS, justices Asaph Ntengye and Linda Tumusiime said it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Walakira was unlawfully dismissed from his job.

“It is not in dispute that the claimant was unlawfully terminated.
He was certainly entitled to compensation for the unlawful dismissal,” the judges stated in their judgement.
They added that Walakira’s job was all he had from which he could fend for his family and derive gratification and emotional satisfaction as a person.

“Having lost the job, Walakira is entitled to compensation. He had just worked for two years and earned UGX5 million per month. He no longer does because of the unlawful action of the respondent. Considering all factors, including that the claimant did not show any trial to mitigate loss we think UGX35 million is sufficient as general damages,” the judges ruled.

Walakira, an employee of NETIS since April 1, 2014 was dismissed on April 15, 2016.
Following his dismissal, he lodged a complaint before a labour officer sitting at Kampala City Authority Court.

The labour officer awarded him UGX8 million as 42 days of untaken leave. He was further awarded UGX20 million as basic compensation, among as orders.

Unsatisfied with the court decision, NETIS appealed in the Industrial Court on grounds that the labour officer had overstepped his powers by awarding compensation and salary arrears yet the law only requires him to mediate the two parties.

Indeed, the judges of the industrial court were in agreement with NETIS.

“Whereas we fault the labour officer for having given compensation beyond what is authorised by the provisions of section 78 of the Employment Act, we have no alternative but to confirm the decision that the respondent was unfairly dismissed thus the award of UGX35 million,” the Appeals court ruled.



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