Companies

Kenyatta family firm appeals Sh1.6m award to elderly plumber

Brookside3103n

A section of the Brookside Dairy factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A firm owned by the Kenyatta family and Brookside Diaries have filed an appeal against a court order to compensate an elderly plumber Sh1.6 million for unlawful termination and use of his photograph without his consent.
  • In the appeal, the two firms indicated that they were condemned unheard, terming the court decision an unfair trial.

A firm owned by the Kenyatta family and Brookside Diaries have filed an appeal against a court order to compensate an elderly plumber Sh1.6 million for unlawful termination and use of his photograph without his consent.

In the appeal, the two firms indicated that they were condemned unheard, terming the court decision an unfair trial.

The High Court in January last year awarded 80-year-old David Gicheru Sh1.5 million for use of his picture by Brookside and Sh139, 200 including 11 months compensation on his Sh11, 600 pay for unfair sacking by Gicheha in 2018 when he complained about the image.

The Court of Appeal has since granted an order stopping payment of the compensation, pending the determination of the suit.

Pleading before Justices Martha Koome, Daniel Musinga and Gatembu M'Inoti, the firms expressed fear that their former employee, who earned Sh10,620 per month, is not able to repay the amounts awarded by the trial court if their appeal succeeds.

Mr Gicheru did not demonstrate his means and ability to repay the compensation should the intended appeal succeed, the court heard.

He was shown the door in 2018 after complaining when Brookside Dairy, which is majority owned by the Kenyatta family, used his picture in its calendar.

The company terminated his employment on the grounds of “break down of communication” and “erosion of confidence” as well as his failure to exhaust all internal dispute resolution mechanisms. He was paid his dues of Sh151,149.

In 2017, Mr Gicheru said, he was photographed without his consent and Brookside published his image on various marketing media including calendars, which were used in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

But Ms Grace Manugu, the Human Resource Manager for the two companies said the plumber consented to being photographed in 2017 for purposes of producing calendars by Brookside and that Gicheha Farms Ltd as the employer also approved the same.

GOOD FAITH

She said publication of the plumber’s image was done in good faith and was not an invasion of his privacy or motivated by greed or profiteering and further, Brookside did not make any sale of the said calendars at all.

The plumber reckons that he sought audience with the management for compensation but nothing was forthcoming despite promises.

He is represented by lawyer Donald Kipkorir