Baylor Clinic to fork over P1m on suit

Baylor Clinic at Princess Marina Hospital. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Baylor Clinic at Princess Marina Hospital. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE

Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence will fork out over P1m after losing a suit lodged against them by a former doctor.

The doctor, Marape Marape, had instituted action through a writ of summons on January 2014 against Baylor Clinic, following his dismissal from a job he held from July 4, 2013 to December 2013 as a public health specialist. The Clinic’s Executive Director, Professor Gabriel Anabwani, dismissed Marape on condition that he had missed two-days of work, which he had attributed to ill health and was given sick leave.

Through a court judgement delivered recently by Lobatse High Court Judge, Godfrey Nthomiwa, Marape was awarded payments in the form of damages for unlawful termination of employment in the sum of P854,550, prorated gratuity in the sum of P71,212.50, accrued annual leave pay of P20,500.53, interest at a 10 percent per annum from December 2013 to date of full payment and the cost of suit.

Justice Nthomiwa said Marape had proved his case on balance of probabilities and that he was entitled to all payments he demanded.

“There is nothing presented before me, that explains why the clinic terminated the plaintiff’s employment on the ground that he had failed timeously to report his sick off,” he said.

Nthomiwa said the clinic authorities had acted out of emotion such that the two-day absence was not sufficient to justify a dismissal.

“His supervisor instead went ahead to unearth buried sins of the plaintiff from past relationships unassociated with the case of unfair dismissal and allowed them to cloud his judgement. I don’t think modern administration procedure permits that,” he said.

He further explained that an employee facing disciplinary charges was entitled to full observance of the general conditions of employment or the company policy and procedures.

“The features to have been observed include among others that the employee who faces discipline must be given reasonable notice of the time and place the employer intends holding a disciplinary enquiry; at the same time the employee must be informed of the nature of the charge or charges against him; the employee must be given the option of being assisted or represented at enquiry by a co-employee of his choice; the employer should place sufficient evidence before the enquiry to prove that the alleged misconduct has been committed and that it has been committed by the employee so charged.

“The employee should have been entitled to question any witness who testifies against him, also be entitled to give evidence and call his own witnesses, and if found guilty and after a sanction has been imposed be informed of the right to appeal,” he said.

Nthomiwa also said as such the plaintiff among others was not given an opportunity to deal with past misdeeds laid against him, was not given chance to mitigate before the ultimate sanctions of dismissal was imposed on him.

Through his lawyer Joseph Akoonyatse, Marape had sued the Children’s Clinic demanding reinstatement to his previous job position, payment of P47,475 per month being lost wages from January 1, 2014 to date of reinstatement or alternative payments.

In the court papers Marape gave evidence that he was dismissed from employment by his immediate supervisor, Anabwani, without any prior notice or hearing for missing two days of work due to ill health.

“After receiving a letter that was addressed to me, I explained why I had missed the two days of work and attached a copy of the sick note, which I had not been able to submit due to my busy schedule, I was dismissed from work without being subjected to a disciplinary hearing. Also no one ever approached me regarding the authenticity of the sick note,” he said.

The Baylor Clinic through its attorney Tebogo Sebego, however maintained that the employee was dismissed from work for being absent without informing his supervisor, despite knowing it was required of him to do so.

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