Dismissed Zambia Sugar worker drags Company to court

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A dismissed employee at Zambia Sugar company in Mazabuka has dragged his former employees to court on allegation his dismissal from employment was wrongfully and unfair.

Felix Mubita a resident of Mazabuka’s West Villa area and former liaison officer contends in his affidavit filed in Lusaka’s industrial courts that his dismissal from employment at Zambia Sugar limited was wrongfully and unfair as it was not done in accordance with the disciplinary procedure code.

Mubita who was dismissed on the 21st of November 2014 after he was charged with the offense of gross misconduct among others is claiming for damages for wrongful and unfair dismissal.

Mubita who is being represented by Mweemba and company is further claiming for costs and any other relief which the court may grant in its discretion.

It is further alleged that prior to his summary dismissal, Zambia Sugar limited on the 124th day of May 2014, Mubita was charged with the offence of intention dishonest behaviour and that he appeared before the disciplinary hearing in respect of the same charge which was later upheld.

According to his submission, Mubita argues that he appealed against the summary dismissal for gross misconduct which was successful and the charge was dropped to a lesser offence of misconduct and a final warning written to him to him.

Mubita stated that after his acquittal of gross misconduct, he was ordered by the commercial manager Lee Elkington to report for work by Monday August 11, 2014.

He added that when he reported for work, he was denied entry into the office and was served with a letter of suspension at the main entrance without stating the particulars or reasons why he had been suspended from duty but that the letter only indicated that he had used abusive language towards a workmate on 19thJune 2014.

Mubita states that he was surprised with the contents of his suspension letter because where as it is alleged that he used abusive language, he never reported for work and neither did he use abusive language or verbally communicate with any of the workmates because he was on suspension pending the hearing of his gross misconduct case.

He said his dismissal from employment was based on the contents of the defence which he had filed and used to successfully exculpate and defend him against the earlier charge of gross misconduct.

Mubita argues that the said defence upon which he was charged for the offence which resulted onto his dismissal was purely an exculpatory letter which he tendered before the disciplinary hearing.

“The contents of the said exculpatory letter were not made by me directly to any of my workmates but was purely a submission before the disciplinary hearing and was meant for use at that forum and not anywhere else,” reads the affidavit in part.

“That the fact that I was dismissed from employment based on the contents of a defence I had used to successfully defend myself against an earlier charge of gross misconduct shows that the respondent had embarked on a scheme to try and dismiss me from employment at all costs.

Mubita further argues that during the hearing of the disciplinary case, the officer whom he was alleged to have used abusive language against vehemently refused to attend the disciplinary proceedings on two consecutive times which rendered the committee to determine the case without oral evidence from the main complainant a step he said was against the disciplinary procedure code.

“The fact that the disciplinary committee which heard my case sat and made a determination of my case without hearing evidence from the main complainant was against the disciplinary procedure code which provides that the committee should sit and listen to the opposing views and ascertain the case with consistence and fairness,”.

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