Bank ordered to reinstate employee

HARARE - The Supreme Court has ordered Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), now known as Allied Bank, to reinstate a former boss who was unfairly dismissed from the banking institution.

Stella Nhari appealed to the Supreme Court after a Labour Court upheld her dismissal.

Nhari was employed by the bank as head of the compliance section and she reported directly to the chief executive office.

The court heard the issue arose in November 2007, when the bank’s chief executive officer advised senior management of the introduction of the institution’s new reporting structure.

In terms of the new reporting structure, Nhari was named the general manager and was reporting to the head of the corporate and legal services division.

This did not go down well with Nhari who queried the new structures, and insisted on the use of the old reporting structure.

She was subsequently suspended without salary or benefits in June 2008, after being charged with misconduct, leading to the holding of a disciplinary hearing.

Nhari later filed an urgent court application, seeking the setting aside of her suspension.

The court heard that in August 2008, the Labour Court granted a default judgment in favour of Nhari, setting aside the suspension and reinstatement was ordered.

In October of the same year, the court heard that Nhari filed another application with the Labour Court for the review of the decision to dismiss her, an application which was thrown out with costs.

She later appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing the Labour Court had misdirected itself in dismissing her request.

“It is clear that a suspension must be based on a belief that a misconduct as defined has been committed. An employer must have good cause for such belief.

“Only then may the employer consider suspending the employee,” Supreme Court judge Paddington Garwe, who handled the case together with Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Yunus Omerjee, said.

The Supreme Court ruled that the law was very clear on the fact that “one cannot put something on nothing as it will collapse.”

“The decision of the disciplinary committee of the respondent of 18 July 2008 terminating the employment of the applicant is set aside,” Garwe ruled.