Source The Observer.
A former employee of Barclays Bank Uganda (BBU) has sued the bank for what she says was unlawful demotion and eventual sacking after she refused to take up a new role.
In a civil suit filed at the High Court, Mariam Brown Babu who worked for Barclays bank from 2005 to April this year when she was fired, wants compensation of up to Shs 200m from her former employers. Through her lawyers, Lubega, Babu & Company Advocates, Babu accuses some of the bank’s senior
managers of mistreating her after she blew the whistle on the unprofessional conduct of two managers in the bank.
She claims she raised an alarm over an “illegal” staff transfer, which the line manager approved, and that she suspects this is what triggered her current woes. Babu says before instructing her lawyers to file a case against the bank, she had tried to solve the matter internally through all available channels, but was frustrated at every attempt.
For instance, she says, she notified the bank’s country Managing Director Charles Ongwae but his instructions to the human resource manager on how to handle the matter didn’t’ bear any positive results. Among other grievances in her petition, Babu contests the rating of her performance, which she claims was “intentionally downgraded” by the line managers in 2011.
According to details in the case, she accuses David Mayeku, head of the compliance department, and Sheila Kawooya, the training and monitoring manager in the same department, of orchestrating her sacking. Babu joined the bank in 2005 as a personal assistant to then Managing Director, Nick Mbuvi. At the time Babu was discontinued, she had risen through the ranks to become a middle-level manager.
In 2008, she was the resource coordinator in the bank’s retail department and was later moved to another department, branch operations, in the same position. In 2010, she assumed the post of training and monitoring officer in the compliance department where her troubles with the accused line managers began. By the time she was sacked early last month, Babu had been posted to manage the bank’s archives department based in Kyambogo.
“This posting is a clear demotion that I could not accept because I was a performer,” she told us last week.
In their notice to sue, Babu’s lawyers argue that their client was not given a fair hearing and protection under the bank’s whistleblowing policy and the National Employment Act. They further state that by demoting and eventually sacking her, the bank had violated her constitutional rights.
Barclays Bank Managing Director Charles Ongwae said this week that the bank could not comment about the suit.
“I cannot discuss anything about it. I am sorry,” he told The Observer.