By Prudence Minayo
Jacinta Wambua served as the personal assistant of Stanbic Bank CEO Greg Brackenridge. She was fired in April 2018 after failing to process the CEO’s tourist Visa. Before being relieved of her duties, she was earning Ksh251,250 monthly salary. Jacinta joined Stanbic Kenya in 2009 as a receptionist before rising to become the PA to the CEO.
Here is the story of Jacinta Wambua and the blunder that cost her job as told by WoK.
The CEO planned to travel to Malta, Czech Republic and Germany starting December 2017. She was asked to organize for the tourist visa on 10th November 2017.
However, she did not make preparations on time which made the CEO fail to attend his holiday.
Stanbic Bank said that the PA left it until it was too late to process the Visa. Instead of working on it immediately, she left it until 10th December and only started the process after being asked about the progress. Initially, she had claimed that she failed to do so since the CEO provided his information late.
The bank said that there was no evidence of the delay between 10th November and 11th December. Hence, they surmised the loss of time indicated a delay in processing the visa on time.
This meant that the CEO could not make it to his Christmas holiday with his family. This cost him money as he had to cancel accommodations and caused both him and his family inconveniences.
The bank said Wambua’s duties included scheduling appropriate venues, travel and conference accommodations both within and outside the country. The duties required proactivity and she was to make sure the executive’s plans ran smoothly.
A disciplinary hearing was held by the bank on 6th April 2018. The PA was accused of negligence in doing her duties. She was asked to call a witness but declined to do so. A little over two weeks later, on 20th, she was relieved of her duties.
Wambua filed a lawsuit against Stanbic Bank in November 2018. She accused the institution of conducting unlawful and irregular disciplinary proceedings. The former employee also stated the bank had malevolently and unlawfully terminated her via a letter.
The axed PA stated it was not negligence but the boss’ failure to provide documents on time. Adding to this, Jacinta stated that arranging for Brackenridge’s holiday travels was not part of her duties.
The claimant wanted the courts to declare the termination unfair and to receive all the salary arrears for the time she was out of a job. She also wanted damages for the unlawful dismissal and for the bank to give her back the position with all the benefits included.
Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure dismissed the case saying Stanbic had given her a fair hearing. She said the respondent complied with the procedure as provided in Section 41 of the employment act. The bank provided minutes of the disciplinary hearing even as the judge staTed:
“The respondent, in terms of following due procedure, complied. He (CEO Greg Brackenridge) sent her a notice to show cause on 28th December 2017 and asked her to respond by 2nd January 2018.
She ended up writing a response on 12th January 2018. After the notice to show cause response, she was invited for disciplinary hearing and was asked to invite a fellow colleague as her witness. The disciplinary hearing was to take place on 26th February 2018, but the claimant said she was unwell.”
The judge told the involved parties to each settle the cost of the suit.