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Understanding the Latest Court Ruling: Tips for Safeguarding Your Employee Rights in Uganda

Understanding the Latest Court Ruling: Tips for Safeguarding Your Employee Rights in Uganda

Nov 16, 2023

5 min read

If you are an employee in Uganda, you might want to read this carefully to learn how you can protect your employee rights in Uganda. A recent court ruling has made it easier for employers to fire you without giving any reason or hearing your side of the story.

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According to observer.ug, the Court of Appeal ruled that employers can terminate the contracts of their employees at any time with or without any justifiable reason(s), as long as they give notice or pay three months' salary in lieu of notice.


The court based its decision on section 65 (1)(a) of the Employment Act, which states that "an employer may terminate a contract of service without notice or with less notice than that to which the employee is entitled by any statutory provision or contractual term where the employer pays to the employee a sum equal to the remuneration which would have been earned by the employee during the period of notice or during the unexpired part of such period."


The court said that this section does not require the employer to give reasons for termination, unless it is explicitly stated in the employment contract. The court also said that there is no need for a hearing, as this would only apply to cases of misconduct or poor performance, which are not covered by section 65 (1)(a).


The court made this ruling in a case between Nassanga Saphinah Kasule and Stanbic bank, where Nassanga's contract was terminated in 2012 without stating any reason. The bank paid her Shs 17 million for three months payment in lieu of notice.


Nassanga challenged the termination, arguing that it was unfair and unlawful. She claimed that she was entitled to a hearing and reasons for termination, as well as damages for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal.


However, the court dismissed her appeal, saying that she had no grounds to challenge the termination under section 65 (1)(a). The court said that her contract did not specify any reasons or procedures for termination, and that she had accepted the payment in lieu of notice.


The court also said that Nassanga had not shown any evidence of discrimination, victimization, or bad faith on the part of the bank. The court said that the bank had acted within its rights and obligations under the law and contract.

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This ruling has serious implications for employees in Uganda, as it means that they have no security or protection from arbitrary termination by their employers. It also means that they have no recourse to challenge or seek redress for unfair dismissal. This ruling also contradicts the principles of natural justice and human rights, which require that every person has a right to a fair hearing and a reasonable explanation for any decision affecting their rights or interests.


This ruling also goes against the spirit and purpose of the Employment Act, which is "to promote good industrial relations and protect workers from exploitation and abuse". As an employee, you should be aware of your rights and obligations under your employment contract and the law. You should also seek legal advice if you feel that your contract has been terminated unfairly or unlawfully.


You can read more about this case and the court ruling on observer.ug.

Looking for a job? Discover hundreds of fresh opportunities on Uganda's Largest jobs portal; here: https://www.africareers.net/jobs-in-uganda 

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