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Debswana wins unfair dismissal case against employee » TheVoiceBW

She demanded 1.8 million pesos and lost with costs

The Gaborone Industrial Court has cleared Debswana Mining Company of any wrongdoing relating to the dismissal of Kelebogile Moesi in July 2017.

The Court was satisfied that Debswana followed procedure and labor laws in dismissing Moesi who had absconded from work for several days.

“Petitioner’s claim for illegal dismissal shall be dismissed with costs for lack of merit. Debswana shall pay Moesi the sum of P28,692.16 which represents his withheld salary, and there shall be no order for costs,” a said Justice Gaedupe Makgato.

Moesi, employed in Orapa as an electrical engineer for a decade, had dragged the company to court for illegal dismissal and demanded compensation of 36 months’ salary amounting to P1,845,468.00.

She said her dismissal was procedurally unfair and the disciplinary hearing which led to her dismissal was in breach of the double standard.

Additionally, she demanded P37,262.40 as withheld wages.

She also alleged that her supervisor, Lefoko Sethoko, was determined to fire her and that he insulted her, which made her workplace hell.

She alleged that at one point, Sethoko touched her buttocks, used unpleasant language to degrade her in front of her peers and that management’s efforts to reconcile them were in vain.

On the other hand, Sethoko has denied the allegations of sexual and verbal abuse.

He said Moesi was a habitual absentee who arrived late for work or failed to show up without first being informed as a supervisor.

He said this happened over many months while he was Moesi’s supervisor and caused friction in their working relationship, which deteriorated beyond repair following his request for leave in January 2017.

Moesi requested leave on January 13, 2017 to travel to Gaborone to prepare for the unveiling of his late mother’s tombstone.

She told the court that once in Gaborone, she realized she needed two more days, but when she tried to contact Sethoko, her phone rang with no answer.

She nevertheless extended her leave and was later involved in a road accident while in Gaborone, only to return to work on January 19, prompting the supervisor to convene a disciplinary hearing.

“The crux of the applicant’s defense is that her absenteeism was authorized by her supervisor, Mr Sethoko, a version which Mr Sethoko vehemently denied. In a nutshell, Sethoko denied Moesi’s claim that his absence from January 16 to 18 was legal. He denied extending Moesi’s leave,” the judge observed.

The disciplinary hearing was delayed for several weeks, then months, as Moesi repeatedly stated that she was not well, forcing it to be postponed until July 2017.

Sethoko denied Moesi’s allegations of sexual harassment, saying he only touched Moesi during one incident to help her into a truck.

“In assessing his testimony, I give Mr. Sethoko credit for admitting to allegations that he could easily have denied. For example, he admitted to talking about Moesi’s physical appearance; and he admitted to pushing the applicant onto a flatbed truck as she struggled to get up. These confessions, among other things, make Mr. Sethoko a witness whose testimony can be relied upon,” the judge said before dismissing the case.