The Kenyan Law on Demotion
A story is told of an employee who was demoted by his employer and had his salary deducted. He was not given prior notice or consulted upon. All he received was a letter showing the directive and restructuring as a reason for the demotion.
Not happy about how his employer acted, he went to court to challenge the decision. The result; the court found that his employer was in the wrong and directed the company to pay the employee his denied dues. According to the courts, the employer acted unlawfully.
Most employees today suffer because they do not understand what the Kenyan law states. If you have been demoted at your company, ensure that your employer has followed the due cause. And if you feel your demotion was unfair, make a complaint to have the directive corrected.
To help you understand what the Kenyan law on demotion says, below is a breakdown of when it is okay for an employer to demote you.
What the Kenyan Law on Demotion Says
1. A Demotion is Only Lawful When the Employee is Consulted Prior
The demotion of an employee constitutes a change in employment particulars, including the position held and job title, responsibilities and salary. In this regard, the Kenyan Law on demotion as provided for under section 10 of the Employment Act of 2007 states that an employer must consult with an employee before the demotion.
According to the provision, “Where employment particulars change, the employer shall, in consultation with the employee, revise the employment contract to reflect the change and notify the employee of the change in writing.” This means that an employer must first sit with an employee and discuss the demotion, before going ahead with the actual demotion.
Anything contrary to this is considered unlawful and unfair.
2. An Employer Must Follow Company Policy When Carrying Out a Demotion
Do you know and understand the demotion policy of the company you work for? Have you studied your employment contract to understand what an employer can and cannot do?
According to the Kenyan Law on demotion, employers must follow their own policies on demotion in addition to what the Employment Act provides.
What does this mean?
Whenever an employee is demoted to a position of lower rank than their previous one, a pay cut is given to reflect the new position. But if your employment contract or company policy states that salaries or compensation should never be reviewed downwards, such a reduction in salary would be unlawful.
This is just an example. Your situation could be different, especially so because employers are different. And so are organizations. It could be that you don’t have a policy that is specific to demotion. In such a case, you are only protected by the employment act of 2007.
What to Remember
If you have encountered a demotion and believe it to be unlawful, be quick to consult the company policy. What does it say? Did your employer follow due process? The same applies to the Kenyan law on demotion. Did your employer adhere to the provisions of the Employment Act?
If they didn’t, file a complaint as soon as possible. Not lodging a complaint will be considered or interpreted as acceptance of the changes.
Also, your employer should notify you about the demotion in writing. Failure to do this is considered an offense. The same applies to any changes made to your employment contract.
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