Eastleigh Mattresses (Eastmatt) supermarket has moved to court seeking to stop the criminal prosecution of its directors for failing to produce employment records of its staff for inspection.
The retail chain, which operates several stores across the country, has sued the Labour secretary for calling for the repeat of an audit on its outlets.
An earlier inspection had been done on July 9 but the call for re-inspection was instigated by concerns raised by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and an un-disclosed workers’ union.
The retailer through lawyer Colbert Ojiambo wants the court to stop the Labour Commissioner from proceeding with the inspection of the workers’ employment records.
“The Labour Commissioner has no such powers vested on him to inspect the Eastmatt employment records and therefore such an action contravenes the powers of the commissioner,” said Mr Ojiambo.
The Labour Commissioner is yet to respond to the suit filed Thursday under a certificate of urgency.
According to Eastmatt, the employment records have already been audited by a labour officer from the Nairobi County government.
Filing the suit, the supermarket claimed that a notice of intention to prefer criminal charges against its directors for failing to comply with the alleged ‘illegal’ directive had already been issued to them.
The directors claim that the decision to have a repeat inspection based on the raised concerns by KHRC and the undisclosed union is unlawful, harsh and unjustified hence it needs to be stopped. The repeat inspection had been scheduled for August 5.
They argue that the supermarket chain has complied with the inspection conducted by Labour Ministry officers over the years.
The retailer says that the last inspection for the 2012 - 2014 period confirmed that the supermarket had duly complied with the necessary requirements.
The retailer further claims it has not received any communication from Labour officers concerning the repeat exercise. It alleges that if there are any labour related complaints there is a clear procedure of solving such disputes, which the commissioner has not yet applied.