Safaricom was ordered to pay a blind man a sum of 6 million shillings for not hiring him as a customer service manager alleging that the company did not have a program to support his work.
Judge James Makau ruled that Safaricom violated the rights of Wilson Macharia and failed to treat him with respect by denying him the opportunity despite his interview and asking him to sign a contract of employment.
Mr Macharia sued Safaricom for denying him the job because of his disability and submitted compensation for discrimination and violations of his rights.
Safaricom has denied the allegations of discrimination, saying it gave Mr Macharia the opportunity to be questioned on the job.
The communications operator said the lack of special software made it difficult for Mr Macharia to work as a customer service manager.
Mr Macharia said his request to use his personal computer was denied by Safaricom, citing security reasons and the need to protect data and information from M-Pesa phones, text and operations in accordance with the law on data handling.
(Safaricom) excuse ,“I consider the Respondent’s”, to be a future thought that was brought to the deceased at the expense of the Applicant. The respondent knew from the outset that the Applicant’s job required programming, but they guided him through all stages of recruitment, ”Judge Makau said.
Mr Macharia, an ICT graduate, said he responded to an announcement from Safaricom in August 2016 for the position of Customer Experience Manager.
The announcement invited qualified Kenyans regardless of “race, color, religion, gender, ethnic origin, disability or age”.
Selected candidates include Mr Macharia and other people living with a disability (PWD).
Applicants with disabilities had to go through the same process as others, including a computer proficiency test and oral interviews.
But the SHL computer eligibility test has been removed for people with disabilities so that they are not abused by the interview process.
Special software was used for the technical part of the interview. Mr Macharia passed an oral interview and a medical examination after removing the technical condition, pending the inclusion of the program.
He was invited to sign a contract in July 2017, but the company said the invitation was flawed.
Later, Safaricom failed to hire him for lack of an integrated system for running software for the visually impaired.
The company said it gave 11 other disabled people a chance, whose disability did not affect their ability to work with the current customer service platform.
The judge said Mr Macharia must have received a lot of embarrassment from his fellow candidates, family members and friends.
Judge Makau said Safaricom should have informed Mr Macharia in time that the program was not available instead of submitting it to the process and asking him to sign a contract, only to inform him later than the letter d The invitation had been sent to him by mistake.
The judge found that the company was aware that it had the responsibility of people like him to promote equality and provide better housing. Mr Macharia, the court found, had indicated that he would be able to fill any vacancy through his oral interviews and medical tests without any challenge.
The judge said Safaricom allowed Mr Macharia to take all internal measures knowing he had a visual impairment.
“I consider that the indictment of the defendant to provide adequate accommodation to the Applicant is not to give the Applicant an opportunity due to lack of software but not because of his perception and that there was no violation of his equality rights,” Judge Makau said.
The court, however, dismissed Safaricom for any discriminatory allegations, finding that Mr Macharia failed to show that he had been treated unfairly during the interview.