A High Court in Kenya has ordered Safaricom to pay Wilson Macharia, a blind man Sh6 million ($56,000) for failing to hire him after he had gone through the telcos’ entire recruitment process.

Macharia sued the country’s largest telco seeking compensation because his rights were violated, BusinessDaily reported. He told Justice James Makau that Safaricom declined to employ him as a customer care executive on grounds that it did not have specialized software to help him with his work.

Macharia said he had responded to an advert by Safaricom in August 2016 for a customer experience executive position, which invited qualified Kenyans irrespective of “race, colour, religion, gender, tribal origin, disability or age”.

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Macharia was shortlisted, went through the oral interview and medical test, after which he was invited to sign the contract in July 2017, only for Safaricom to say the invite was erroneous.

In its defense, the telco said it did not discriminate against the plaintiff and argued that it allowed Macharia to be interviewed for the job but that it lacked specialised software that would enable him to work.

The judge ruled that Safaricom violated Macharia’s rights and failed to treat him with dignity as it should have informed him earlier that the software was unavailable instead of making him go through the recruitment process only to later claim the letter was sent erroneously.

“I find that the Respondent’s excuse to be an afterthought that was introduced late to the detriment of the Petitioner. The Respondent knew right from the beginning that the Petitioner’s work called for software, yet they took him through all recruitment steps,” Justice Makau ruled.

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