19 November 2012

Uganda: Ex-NDA Employees Demand Sh100 Million Over Discrimination

A group of 19 ex-employees of the National Drug Authority (NDA) have sued it demanding sh100 million, claiming the authority discriminated them and denied them, benefits between 2003 and 2011.

In the suit filed at the High Court in Kampala on November 9, they claim their services were wrongfully terminated. Through Joel Cox Advocates, they are demanding damages, contending that the authority ignored its human resource (HR) manual and the Employment Act. They are seeking a court declaration that their contracts were wrongfully terminated.

"In total disregard of the law on labour rights, the defendants practiced institutionalised discrimination against the plaintiffs by not allowing them to earn gratuity, loans, advances, transport allowance, and medical care, which benefits were given to other employees with the same qualifications," the plaint states.

The aggrieved are Frank Nyakahuma, Godfrey Okello, Kevin Acayo, Patricia Nakimera, Stella Nansubuga, Haimidi Mutimya,Felix Turyatemba, and Dickson Mujuni.

Others are Tonny Nsamba,Patricia Arinaitwe, Lynn Ninsiima,Rehema Oroma, Imelda Nantale, and Charlotte Natumanya. Also included are Hellen Mbabazi, Moses Majwaala,Teopista Nabayego,Martha Kiryewala, and Ibrahim Kateregga.

Additionally, the ex-employees are demanding for sh42.8m, stating that during their time of service, they were denied the mandatory annual leave. The plaintiffs, who claim to have served at various NDA posts countrywide, assert that they were kept on probation for more than six months, contrary to the body's HR manual and the Employment Act. The plaint only indicates that some served as laboratory assistants and office attendants.

The aggrieved claim, they were treated as temporary employees, despite most of them working for a period between two and eight years.

Nakimera, Oroma, and Natumanya allege that they were denied maternity leave, and that they were subjected to suffering during and after child birth. They are demanding a combined sh3.3 million for maternity leave.

They are demanding sh15.7 million, alleging they were not notified of the termination on time. They state that they were given a four-day notice when their services were discontinued. The aggrieved lament that they are miserable, purporting that they have been subjected to deteriorating health, financial strain, and untold suffering.

The aggrieved want court to compel NDA to issue certificates of service. They alternatively want to be reinstated, and for NDA to be compelled to pay damages for purported violation of their rights.

Court has ordered NDA to file its defence within 15 days from the date they receive the summons.In the order issued by the court's civil division registrar Eudes Keitirima dated November 9, 2012, NDA has been asked to heed, lest judgement is passed in its absence.

The case file has been allocated to Justice Benjamin Kabiito. However, a hearing date is yet to be fixed.

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