Former Kenya Airways chief executive Titus Naikuni and the airline have been ordered to pay a former communications manager Sh10 million after he was stripped and later sacked for wearing a T-shirt displaying a rival airline.
Justice Joram Abuodha ordered Mr Naikuni to personally compensate Kepha Bosire for treating him in an undignified manner in front of his colleagues and guests during an event in October 2013.
The judge ordered Mr Naikuni to pay Bosire Sh1 million compensation for undignified treatment after the former CEO forcibly removed his blazer and asked him to remove an Arsenal football club T-shirt branded ‘Fly Emirates’, a rival of KQ.
The incident happened during a dinner dance Kenya Airways organised for athletes at Maasai Mara attended by executives and business people.
Mr Bosire was later sacked, and the airline has been asked to pay him Sh9 million as compensation equivalent to a year’s salary and three-month pay in lieu of notice.
Court documents indicate Mr Bosire earned Sh600,000 monthly.
Mr Naikuni defended himself, saying as communications manager Mr Bosire was supposed to lead by displaying and promoting KQ.
He further denied the claim of stripping Mr Bosire, stating he calmly approached him and asked him to change his attire or leave the premises because it was an event organised by Kenya Airways.
According to Mr Naikuni, it was very offensive for Mr Bosire as the communications manager to be dressed in an attire promoting a competitor.
He said the T-shirt was provocative and he ought to have changed it.
Through lawyer Steve Mogaka, Mr Bosire said he wore the T-shirt because he was an Arsenal fan and he explained it to Mr Naikuni to no avail.
Mr Naikuni said he walked away with the Arsenal T-Shirt because he needed to keep it for disciplinary process.
“It is, therefore, inconceivable that the claimant opted to remove his T-shirt in the presence of his colleagues,” Justice Abuodha said.
Mr Naikuni said Mr Bosire resigned voluntarily by tendering the letter on October 7, 2013.
Mr Bosire maintained that he was offered the letter in his name and asked to sign and was given a clearance letter and asked to sign and leave it with the HR director who would clear on his behalf to save him the trouble.
The court awarded the claimant Sh1.8 million being three months salary in lieu of notice, 12 months salary compensation, Sh1 million compensation for undignified treatment and Sh7.2 million for unfair termination.