A judge has ordered the Cooperative Bank of Kenya to compensate a former teller Sh500,000 in form of salaries for illegal dismissal 10 years ago over allegations of stealing by a servant for failure to account for Sh0.5 million.
Justice Jacob Gakeri of the Employment and Labour Relations Court declared that the summary dismissal of Ruth Njeri Mburu was unfair and awarded her Sh508,876 plus the costs of the suit, which started in 2013.
In a judgment that has put the human resource managers in the spotlight, Justice Gakeri held that the summary dismissal of Ms Mburu did not meet the threshold prescribed under the Employment Act.
There was no evidence she received the notice to show cause. Also no evidence of an invitation to her for a disciplinary hearing. At the time of dismissal in October 2012, she was on suspension.
“The bank should have telephoned Ms Mburu to ascertain whether she had received the letter. Proceeding with the dismissal before confirmation that she had in fact received the show cause letter was unfair,” said the judge.
The troubles of Ms Mburu and the bank started on August 21, 2012, when she had a cash shortage of Sh500,000 and was unable to balance her accounts. She was working as a teller at the bank.
She reported the said shortage to her seniors but the amount was not recovered.
The bank reported the loss to the Anti Bank Fraud Unit of the Kenya Police eight days later and Ms Mburu was charged in court for theft.
She told the court that she suffered pain, shame, and a ruined reputation due to the criminal charges.
For its part, the bank said the employment of Ms Mburu was based on trust and integrity and failure to account for the cash broke down the trust irretrievably.