SH10M PAYOUT

Naikuni, KQ to pay dearly for firing staffer over Mara event gaffe

Court found that Kepha Bosire was unfairly terminated and treated him in a very undignified manner.

In Summary

• The Employment and Labour Relations Judge Nelson Abuodha Abudodha yesterday awarded Bosire Sh1.8 million three months’ salary in lieu of notice and Sh7.2 million 12 months salary payout for unfair termination. 

• Bosire was also awarded Sh1 million for undignified treatment. The total award is Sh10 million.

Former Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni during a press conference.
Former Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni during a press conference.

Kenya Airways and its former CEO Titus Naikuni will part with Sh10 million as compensation to an employee unlawfully sacked by the company six years ago.

The labour court yesterday directed that Naikuni personally pays former communications manager Kepha Bosire Sh1 million for subjecting him to undignified treatment. 

The incident and Bosire's subsequent termination happened during a party at Lemek Conservancy, Maasai Mara in 2013.

The Employment and Labour Relations Judge Nelson Abuodha Abudodha yesterday awarded Bosire Sh1.8 million three months’ salary in lieu of notice and Sh7.2 million 12 months salary payout for unfair termination. 

Bosire was also awarded Sh1 million for undignified treatment. The total award is Sh10 million.

The former staffer had accused Naikuni of pulling off his T-shirt during the party held on on the same day as the Maasai Mara Marathon sponsored by KQ.

He claimed Naikuni humiliated him in the presence of his workmates and sought a declaration that the CEO’s conduct violated his constitutional rights and that he should pay damages.

Abuodha said Naikuni’s actions went outside his role when he pulled off Kepha’s T-shirt bearing the logo of a rival airline “Fly Emirates”.

Naikuni had denied undressing Bosire claiming that he was the one who handed him the T-shirt voluntarily and he removed it on his own.

But the judge said it was inconceivable that Bosire opted to remove his T-shirt in the presence of his colleagues and guests.

“Naikuni had at his disposal security personnel, what was difficult summoning them to eject Bosire or escort him somewhere private for the removal and confiscation of the offensive T-shirt?” asked the judge

“This court does not believe that Bosire voluntarily removed his T-shirt and voluntarily resigned. He had worked for KQ for only eight months it’s inconceivable that he would suddenly resign,” the judge said. 

The court held that Naikuni used his position as CEO to intimidate and coerce Bosire and that he ought to have used other alternative measures if he wanted the staffer to leave the event.

“Bosire was unfairly terminated. This court finds that Naikuni treated him in a very undignified manner and that is why he will personally compensate Bosire Sh1 million for subjecting him to such,” the judge said. 

(edited by O. Owino)