A former security officer is seeking Sh14 million in compensation from Emirates Airlines for illegal termination from employment and discrimination. FILE PHOTO.
A former security officer is seeking Sh14 million in compensation from an international airline for "illegal termination and discrimination".
Ms Mary Wairimu Moturi alleges that her employment as a security coordinator with the United Arab Emirates Airlines was terminated on health grounds, though she “she was fit to continue with her job”.
In a case filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court by lawyer Titus Koceyo, she alleges that she had been discriminated against by her employer.
Mr Koceyo argues the airline went against the advice of the company doctor that she “should not be allocated night duties due to her health condition”.
He is, therefore, asking the court to declare that the security officer is entitled to compensation and should be paid damages for discrimination at her place of work.
The lawyer says that on June 10, the Emirates Group, named as the respondent in the case, terminated Ms Moturi’s employment citing her incapacity to work, yet the company doctor had declared her medically fit to work.
She alleges that her illness “was caused by a hostile work environment, which she was subjected to by the airline”.
Ms Moturi says that she was surprised that her employer declined, ignored and/or neglected to heed Dr Samina Sidiqqi's advice that she should not be subjected to unfavourable working shifts, which would impede her recovery.
The doctor had said she would have recovered within a period of six months.
Ms Moturi says that the UAE airline poached her from Kenya Airways, where she used to work as a customer care agent.
She left Kenya Airways to join Emirates, where she was offered a salary of UAE Dirham 9,483 (Sh251,932) per month.
WORKED FOR THREE YEARS
She worked for Emirates for three years, from May 25, 2012 to May 27, 2015.
“The precondition of securing employment with the UAE airline was that I undergo medical tests and examinations to ascertain that I was fit to discharge my duties,” she says in the court documents filed in the Labour Relations Court.
Ms Moturi says she was taken through the medical processes by the airline's doctor, “who confirmed that she was fit and in a healthy condition to discharge (the) duties of her office”.
The claimant says her job involved working on night shifts and standing for long hours in “extremely cold weather and also staying in Dubai in highly air-conditioned cold rooms”.
As a result, Ms Moturi states she developed complications in or about December 2014 and was given sick leave for two months.
Mr Koceyo says in the court papers that Ms Moturi resumed work on January 2015 and was informed during one of the medical check-ups that she had developed rheumatic arthritis due to the extreme cold-weather working conditions.
Dr Sidiqqi recommended that, to allow her time to recover fully, she needed six months to adjust to the shift pattern and she should not be assigned night duties.
She is asking the court to award Sh3,023,195 for loss of employment and Sh10 million as damages for discrimination, Sh377,898 in terminal dues, leave allowance of Sh100,722 and a month's notice of Sh251,932.
The Industrial Court has directed the Emirates Group to respond to the case by July 23 failure to which a judgment shall be entered.