Court orders ex Coca-Cola worker be paid 31m/- compensation

TANZANIA: FORMER Regional Sales Manager Adjacent Category and Zanzibar with Coca-Cola Kwanza Limited, Innocent Mlay, is to be paid 31m/- only instead of 1.098bn/- he was awarded by Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA) for termination of his employment.

This follows the decision of the High Court’s Labour Division to partly allow the application for revision lodged by Coca-Cola Kwanza Limited, the applicant, to oppose the award of the CMA issued in favour of Mr Mlay, the respondent, in respect of huge payments.

“I find the application to have partly succeeded. The award of notice pay and severance allowances is hereby upheld. The award of 84 months’ salaries is reduced to three months’ salaries. Thus, the respondent is ordered to be paid 31,482,697/-,” Judge Yose Mlyambina ruled.

Expounding further, he found not justifiable the award of 84 months’ salaries as compensation to the respondent for unfair termination, as Section 40(l)(c) of the Employment Labour Relations Act provides a minimum standard to award in the event of unfair termination.

“In the application at hand, since it is found that the applicant proved the misconduct against the respondent but he only violated some of the procedures for termination, it is my view that the Award of 84 months is unjustifiable,” the judge said.

Before the CMA, the applicant was also ordered to pay the respondent a sum of 250m/- as nominal damages for defamation of his name on suspicion of dishonesty at work.

However, in his ruling delivered in Dar es Salaam recently, the judge found the respondent was not entitled to be paid damages since the applicant proved that his acts amounted to dishonesty, hence tarnishing the employer’s image.

Before reaching into the findings, he considered whether the applicant proved the misconducts levelled against the respondent, including gross dishonesty by abusing the selling price of company products to different customers.

The respondent was also accused of intentionally asking customers to give him extra money over and beyond the company price for him to deliver products, an act which distorts the company image and is contrary to the company disciplinary code.

After going through the records, the judge noted during the disciplinary hearing when giving his defence, that the respondent was cross-examined and confirmed that he was aware of some conversations with a customer over the reduction of price for Savana drinks.

In conversations, it was also observed that the client informed the respondent that his boss was asking them to sell Savana at 62,000/-. However, since they have already paid 10 million in advance, they asked for 63,000/-.

It was the view of the judge that there were suspicious conversations between the respondent and the client in question and the conversation was sufficient evidence to prove the levelled misconduct against him.

“What was the respondent’s motive in negotiating product prices while the price tag list is self-explanatory? Such act justified that there were illegal conducts by the respondent and his colleague Mr John Dandi,” he said.

To justify the claim, the applicant further tendered a complaint letter from a customer, Proches Shayo, who complained that he was paying extra money than the price tag and that the extra money was paid to the respondent and his colleague.

The judge further noted that the client had attached a bank pay slip which shows that 5m/- was paid to Mr John Dandi’s account to prove the claims.

It was his position that such evidence though not directly linked to the Respondent with the misconduct in question, was crucial evidence that should have not been taken lightly by the Arbitrator.

The respondent was employed by the applicant from September 10, 2018, as a Regional Sales Manager Adjacent Category and Zanzibar. On September 03, 2020, he was terminated from employment on the grounds of gross dishonesty and tarnishing the company’s image.

Aggrieved by the termination, the respondent referred the matter to the CMA and strongly claimed that the termination was unfair.

He prayed to be awarded compensation for unfair termination with a reasonable expectation of 96 months equal to 671,630,880/=, notice pay of 6,996,155/=, as well as compensation for 11 years, developed career ruined and character assassination amounting to 160m/-.

After considering the evidence of the parties, the CMA concluded that the respondent was unfairly terminated from employment both substantively and procedurally.

The CMA awarded the respondent 848,171,252/= being 84 months’ salary as compensation for the alleged unfair termination, notice pay, severance payment of two years as well as 250m/- as nominal damages.

Related Articles

Back to top button