THE ZAMBIA Red Cross Society has challenged the Industrial Relations Court decision to award former general secretary Charles Mushitu damages because it failed to appreciate the law to wrongful and unfair dismissal in relation to contractual employees.

According to a notice of appeal that has been filed in the Supreme Court, the Red Cross Society suggested that the trial court misdirected itself in law and in fact as it acted against the rule of natural justice which required that both parties must be heard before judgment.

The organisation has charged that they were not given an opportunity to respond to the claims by Mr Mushitu but that the court went ahead and delivered judgment against them.

“It is our submission that the order dated 7 August 2015 was fundamentally flawed as it was contrary to the Rules of the Court, in particular Section 85(5) of the Act.

“In refusing to hear the appellant, the court not only misdirected itself in terms of Section 85(5) but also acted against the rules of natural justice which require that both parties must be heard,” they said.

This followed the Industrial Relations Court decision to award Mr Mushitu K1.7 million for wrongful dismissal after serving the society for nine years from 2004.

Industrial Relations Justice Martin Musaluke had dismissed the four grounds raised by the ZRCS as baseless as they did not warrant the society to dismiss him.

The society charged that the Industrial Relations Court failed to recognize the substantial justice for the parties before it, in its finding that Mr Mushitu was wrongfully and unfairly dismissed when on contract.

“To entitle the employee to sue for damages, two conditions must normally be fulfilled, namely (1) the employee must have been engaged for a fixed period or for a period terminable by notice and dismissed either before the expiration of that fixed period or without the requite, as the case may be.

“And (2) his dismissal must have been wrongful , that is to say without sufficient cause to permit his employer to dismiss him summarily,” they explained.

They have appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision by the lower court in their favour, based on the five grounds they have specified concerning the dismissal.

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