ZIMBABWE ALLIED BANKING GROUP
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
CHIDYAUSIKU CJ, GARWE JA & OMERJEE AJA
HARARE, SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 & OCTOBER 31, 2013
T Mpofu, for the appellant
D Mehta, for the respondent
GARWE JA: This is an appeal against a judgment of the Labour Court dismissing with costs an application for the review of the decision of the respondent to dismiss the appellant from employment.
The facts of this case are these. The appellant was employed by the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (“the respondent bank”) as Head of the Compliance Section. In this capacity she reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In November 2007, the Chief Executive Officer of the respondent bank advised senior management of the bank of the introduction of a new reporting structure. In terms of the new structure the appellant’s position was renamed General Manager, Compliance and she was to report to the Head of the Corporate and Legal Services Division. The memorandum made it clear that the new structure would not affect the grade, salary or benefits of any incumbent.
The appellant was unhappy that she now had to report through another Head of Department and took the view that her conditions had been unilaterally changed by the respondent bank. She sought clarification from the Chief Executive Officer of the respondent bank who responded clarifying the position. She was still not satisfied with the explanation given and insisted on using the old reporting structure. She made representations to the Board of Directors of the respondent bank. The Chief Executive Officer again wrote to her directing her to follow the new structure pending any decision to be taken by the Board. The appellant continued to question the new structure and made further representations to the Board of Directors of the respondent bank. On 6 June 2008, the appellant was suspended from work without salary or benefits in terms of the Labour (National Employment Code of Conduct) Regulations, Statutory Instrument 15/2006 and charged with two offences namely, any act, conduct or omission inconsistent with the fulfilment of the express or implied conditions of a contract and wilful disobedience to a lawful order given by the employer. A disciplinary hearing was thereafter conducted on 20 June 2008. The matter was postponed so that the disciplinary committee could consider the verdict. The appellant did not attend further hearings of the committee.