The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has asked the Labour Court to dismiss a case filed by a security guard who was fired following an incident at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) involving Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
Ms Daizy Cherogony, who worked at the transport hub until May this year, has sued the KAA alleging she was sacked for “mistreating” Dr Matiang’i.
KAA now denies acting maliciously towards Ms Cherogony and submitted in court that it was her who humiliated its customer.
Through lawyer Lorraine Oyombe, her former employer now says Ms Cherogony's conduct was found to be in breach of its Human Resource Manual and disciplinary action recommended for her negligence and reckless handling of the CS.
The lawyer claims Ms Cherogony ignored the CS when he arrived at the terminal building on the evening of April 6, 2017.
“The claimant denied ever seeing the CS at the glass door and that if she had seen him, being a VIP she would have facilitated him as per the security procedures,” said Ms Oyombe.
The Cabinet Secretary was delayed for 24 minutes outside the terminal where he almost missed his flight to Kisumu, she said in papers filed on behalf of KAA.
She admitted that Ms Cherogony was suspended from duty for denying Mr Matiang’i priority service and embarrassing him by requiring him to line up for security checks at the airport.
“The claimant was issued with a show cause letter. She was informed that it had been reported that she had uttered the words 'I do not care who you are...you have to queue like all other passengers’ even after the Cabinet Secretary had introduced himself,” she indicated in the memorandum of defence filed at the Nyeri Labour Court.
The lawyer further said Ms Cherogony responded to the letter by stating that she did not mistreat the CS and that she never saw him.
She said the guard was taken through the disciplinary process where CCTV footage for the material date was produced.
“The footage showed the claimant ignoring the CS who was right in front of her and instead beckoning to passengers who were lined behind him. She said she was concentrating on other passengers and thus she did not look up,” added the lawyer.
She said the CS complained of harassment and that Ms Cherogony apologised.
Ms Oyombe also noted in her papers that Ms Cherogony had a disciplinary record dating back to September 2014 where she was issued with a warning letter for being involved in an unpleasant exchange of words with Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ manager Halima Sankali.
“The claimant was informed that she was expected to serve and attend to customers in a respectful and polite manner while displaying high etiquette and standards of professionalism,” said Ms Oyombe.
The lawyer denied Ms Cherogony’s defence that in Matiang’i’s case she had acted according to KAA aviation security guidelines, adding that the former guard failed to exonerate herself since her defence was to insist that she did not see the CS despite CCTV footage.
The lawyer said Ms Cherogony is not entitled to any compensations maintain that the dismissal was lawful.
Ms Cherogony is expected to file a response to the KAA’s argument in the employment dispute before November 15, 2017 when the matter is slated to come up for mention and set directions for hearing.