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Catholic church ordered to pay former employee for unfair dismissal

23 November 2015, 10:31 Obare Nyamota

Nakuru - The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru has been ordered to pay KES 600 000 to a former employee who sued them for wrongful dismissal.

The orders were issued by the Employment and Labour Relations court following a case filed by Vincent Omollo Obuom, a former peer counselling project co-ordinator who sued the institution after he was sacked.

He had termed his dismissal by one of the priests at the institution as rude.

Justice Stephen Radido on Friday ruled that the institution prematurely terminated the complainant’s contract.

“The court orders the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru to pay the claimant a total of KES 635 200 as they prematurely terminated his contract thus undermining his rights,” said Radido in his judgement.

In the suit filed on July 30, 2012 the 44-year-old faithful claimed that he had been discriminated and his services terminated without a fair hearing following allegations of gross misconduct.

Obuom told the court that he received verbal instructions from Father Michael Muriuki to vacate his offices within the Diocese.

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The former Plate minder who rose through the ranks to a project co-coordinator told the court that the contract he had signed with the church on January 2009 and which was to end on January 5, 2014 was terminated prematurely.

He also averred that the 'rude’ dismissal he received from the church had adversely affected his livelihood and subjected his family to psychological suffering, adding that he had huge loans to service.

He said his contract was terminated and he was denied all his dues despite having worked for the church for 20 years since 1992.

He sought the court to compel the institution to pay him damages amounting to KES 6 million for unfair dismissal.

He also claimed alleged underpayments, certificate of service, and gratuity of 25 percent of his basic salary, leave allowances, and other allowances he was entitled to for the period he claimed to have worked for the church.

Father Muriuki who is a financial administrator with the church and who testified in court, however claimed that Obuom’s service was not terminated unfairly accusing him of absconding duty.

The priest told the court that the complainant had started being 'elusive’ in carrying out his assigned duties before he withdrew from service.

During the hearing of the suit, Obuom was accused of making the church lose over KES 5 million which was meant to facilitate the counseling programme.

In his judgement, Justice Radido said the institution erred in laying off Obuom and gave the institution 30 days to pay the amount.

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