A Harare man earned himself a cool $97 000 without doing any work after Proton Bakers (Pvt) Limited that had employed him as a sales manager withdrew the offer on the eleventh hour. Mr Joseph Nduna was made to sign a contract after which the bakery made a U-turn. He sued the bakery and won his case after an arbitrator ruled in his favour.
According to the arbitral award, Mr Joseph Nduna was entitled to a basic monthly salary of $2 600, use and enjoyment of a company car at $100 per month, monthly fuel allowance of 150 litres, $50 airtime per month, 60 leave days at $2 600 per month, $500 housing allowance and non-contributory medical aid of $150 per month covering three people. After quantification of the damages, it all came to $96 860. Proton Bakers unsuccessfully contested the award at the Labour Court.
The firm then took a cautionary measure and paid Mr Nduna his dues, before taking the matter to the Supreme Court challenging the lower court's decision. The Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision, but referred the case back to the Labour Court for quantification of damages.
In its ruling, the appeals court agreed with the Labour Court that a person becomes an employee upon signing a contract even before starting work. Mr Nduna was employed by Cernol Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd as a sales manager for 12 years and was then offered a job by Proton Bakers via a letter dated March 15, 2012, prompting him to resign.
He was invited to sign a contract. All communications regarding the negotiations of the terms of the contract were done through Proton Bakers agent, CV People Africa (Pvt) Ltd.
Mr Tafara Chiturumani of Chiturumani and Zvavanoda Law Chambers acted for Mr Nduna.