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Ex-KQ boss ordered to pay Sh10m for partially undressing staff : The Standard

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Titus Naikuni

NAIROBI, KENYA: Former Kenya Airways boss Titus Naikuni will pay a former corporate manager Sh10 million for sacking him in a t-shirt tiff.

Labour Court judge Nelson Abuodha ordered Naikuni to personally pay Kepha Bosire the amount in addition to which factors in Sh1.8 million being three months’ salary in lieu of notice, Sh 7.2 million for unfair dismissal and Sh1 million for compensation for undignified treatment.
“The court is of the view that this is a proper case for award of full compensation under section 49 of the Employment Act and also issues order against the first respondent ( Naikuni) personally compensate the claimant for subjecting him to undignified treatment since his actions went outside his role as the second respondent( KQ) CEO,”  the judge ruled.
In the case, Bosire narrated that sometime in October 2013, he attended a marathon event organized by KQ at Lemek Conservancy.
 He claimed that the event that started at 10.00 am going on well until 9.30pm when he alleges that Naikuni stripped him an Arsenal team t-shirt labelled Fly Emirates.
Fly emirates is the sponsor of the English club and a KQ’s competitor.
According to Bosire, he was having his leisure time on the dance floor within an entertainment spot when Naikuni allegedly descended on him and forcibly removed his blazer and stripped him the t-shirt.
Bosire testified that initially, he thought it was a joke when Naikuni allegedly held him by his blazer. He claimed that Naikuni removed his blazer, held on to his t-shirt and pulled it off.  The CEO  allegedly then handed him back the jacket and walked away with the t-shirt.
 He was then allegedly forced to resign around November 6 of the same year.
Naikuni and KQ gave a differing account on what happened.
According to the two, the event which Bosire was referring to was at Maasai Mara. The judge was told that there was a dinner dance which had been organized for guests and corporate clients.
It emerged that Bosire was allegedly expected to have been donned in KQ’s brand clothes.
According to Naikuni, he noticed a gentleman who was wearing a t-shirt bearing a fly Emirate’s logo. He said that he calmly approached him and requested him to either change or leave the premises.
He narrated that the stranger told him that he was not the only one who was wearing a t-shirt with foreign branding; his own employees were wearing the same brand.
On resignation, the Naikuni and KQ argued that Bosire elected to resign on October 7, 2013
The former KQ boss told the court that he walked over to Bosire in a bid to have a similar conversation with him. He said he found him trying to conceal the writing on his t-shirt.
He was of the view that it was very offensive for a communications manager to be wearing an attire promoting KQ’s competitors.
While denying that he stripped his junior, Naikuni claimed that it was Bosire who removed his jacket, proceeded to remove the t-shirt as well on the dance floor, and handed it to him voluntarily.
He admitted that he walked away with it but denied that it took good Samaritans to help Bosire with something to wear.
While faulting Naikuni,  Justice Abuodha observed that there were other ways of dealing with his junior other than humiliating him.
The judge wondered why Naikuni did not use his personal security to escort Bosire away to have the t-short removed.
 “ It is therefore inconceivable that the claimant opted to remove his t-shirt in the presence of his colleagues and guests. In the court’s view it was probable than not the first respondent ( Naikuni) used his position as the CEO of the respondent to intimidate and coerce the claimant to engage in such undignified act in the presence of his colleagues and guests,” the judge ruled.
He continued, “The court does not believe that the claimant voluntarily removed his t-shirt. The same applied to his resignation.”
Naikuni and KQ intend to appeal the decision by the court.

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Titus NaikuniKenya Airways





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