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12 May 2017

Carolyne Kubwa, The Star (Kenya)

Kenya: Court orders G4S to compensate former employee for wrongful dismissal after she complained of sexual harassment at workplace

"G4S to pay Sh35m for illegal sacking, sexual harassment"

A Labour Relations Court has ordered G4S security company to pay a former employee Sh35 million for wrongful dismissal after she refused her boss’s sexual advances. Saida Mbonika filed a lawsuit against the G4S company and her boss Dominic Ooko after he dismissed her without following procedure. In her application, she told court she was employed by G4S in 1996 in the Information Technology department...She said the company was required to give her a conducive working environment free from sexual discrimination, and not discriminate her because of her gender. But in 2003, Ooko advertised her position as vacant. He hired a man who was handed another position after she protested about being replaced.

The court heard that between 2005 and 2006, her boss made sexual overtures and persistently commented about her body and dressing style even after Mbonika asked him to stop. He frequently sought her company and when she refused, he withdrew her office driver. The matter was later reported to her superior who directed that G4S managing director Ken Wood resolve the case. But Wood dismissed the matter and said the issue was trivial.

Justice Nelson Abuodha said G4S neglected to investigate Mbonika’s complaints and showed bias and discrimination by abetting and condoning Ooko’s unlawful actions. “Considering that the claimant’s services could have been brought to an end for any valid reason by both parties, an award of two years’ salary would reasonably compensate the claimant,” the judge said in his ruling.