|Published By:||LYDIA CHURI|
By FAUSTINE KAPAMA, Judiciary
THE Court of Appeal has saved the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) from compensating Accountant Linus Leonce about 12 months’ remuneration for terminating his employment services.
Justices Gerald Ndika, Ignas Kitusi and Sam Rumanyika reached into such a decision after allowing an appeal the MNH, the appellant, had lodged to fault the decision of the High Court’s Labour Division, which had ruled in favour of the Accountant, the respondent.
“We think the labour dispute was misconceived. (….) we quash the impugned decision and set aside the resultant orders. We make no order as to costs because the appeal arises from a labour dispute,” they declared.
The justices noted that the appellant notified the respondent of its proposal for termination of his employment with immediate effect following frustration of the contract of service for which he was invited to consider and, if accepting the terms, indicate it in writing.
They further observed from the record that the respondent accepted the offer of mutual termination of the contract, acceded to the proposed termination upon the appellant's undertaking to pay the proposed package within two weeks of his reply and was accordingly paid.
“It follows that with all that undisputed, by necessary implication on such terms the respondent agreed the appellant's offer for termination and received the agreed terminal benefits. In other words the appellant did all the needful in compliance with section 2 (1) (a) of the Law of Contract Act,” they said.
The justices were of the firm view that the Common Law doctrine of estoppel bars the parties, in this case, the respondent from running away from their previous freely made choices and bars them denying their previous freely made choices.
According to records of appeal, the appellant had wanted to employ a senior accountant but instead of advertising for that post, it advertised for an accountant vacancy which the respondent successfully applied for and was recruited.
He worked with the appellant until on June 24, 2014 but all along he never got paid any remuneration. The reason assigned by the appellant for not paying him any remuneration was that the Central Establishment had not sanctioned the employment.
Vide a letter the appellant terminated the respondent's employment based on certain terms. Accordingly, the respondent replied by a letter dated June 27, 2014 and was then paid terminal benefits.
On March 3, 2017, the respondent instituted an unfair termination claim in the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA) for Dar es Salaam at Dar es Salaam alleging that the appellant had terminated his employment without following the applicable procedure.
The CMA found in his favour. Consequently, it awarded him 12 months' remuneration as compensation. On revision, the High Court upheld the award. Having not satisfied with such decision, the appellant decided to take the matter to the Court of Appeal.