The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered former Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni and Kenya Airways to pay Ksh.10 million to a former employee whose services were unlawfully terminated for wearing a t-shirt labelled “Fly Emirates.”
Mr. Kepha Moreno Bosire, who was KQ’s Corporate and Communications Manager, moved to court in 2013 after he was sacked by the airline for wearing the Arsenal football club jersey with the words Fly Emirates.
“In conclusion, the court finds that Bosire was unfairly terminated and further Naikuni treated him in a very undignified manner contrary to his rights under the Constitution,” the court ruled.
The court noted that Naikuni used his position as the CEO of Kenya Airways to intimidate and coerce Bosire to engage in undignified act of removing the t-shirt in the presence of his colleagues and guests.
“The court therefore does not believe that Bosire voluntarily removed the t-shirt,” court noted.
At the time, Bosire’s monthly salary was Ksh.600,000 per month and was under a 2-year renewable contract.
According to the judge, the manner in which Bosire was sacked was unjustifiable adding that Naikuni is personally liable.
The court directed that the money be paid as follows: Three months salary in lieu of notice (Ksh.1.8 million), 12 months salary as compensation (Ksh.7.2 million) and a sum of Ksh.1 million against Naikuni personally for the undignified treatment to Bosire.
In the court documents, Bosire submitted that what triggered the case is a t-shirt that allegedly had the words “Fly Emirates” printed on it that were unpalatable to Naikuni.
He submitted that whatever is worth, a t-shirt in a social setting is not and should not be reason for Kenya Airways and the country to lose productivity of an employee.
He further said that the manner of dress at 10pm should not have brought the matter to this point.
“The prayers are merited and it was his humble submission that this Court be set out to protect not only vulnerable employees and also to contribute to growth of gross domestic product and bar the trivial act of a t-shirt worn to stop productivity,” he argued.
Kenya Airways on its part argued that the event referred to by Bosire was a Kenya Airways Masaai Mara Marathon, an annual event organized by the airline.
According to KQ, as the corporate manager, Bosire was expected to take the lead in displaying a promoting KQ brand at the said event.
Naikuni submitted that the t-shirt was offensive because it prominently contained the writings “Fly Emirates,” across the chest.
He submitted that it was inappropriate for Bosire to wear a t-shirt containing such a message in an event fully-sponsored by KQ.
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