Fired waitress takes on army

A FORMER waitress at Headquarters One Brigade in Bulawayo has engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to sue the army for unfair dismissal when she was on maternity leave.


Lorene Shumba was employed as a waitress on a three-month renewable contract since 2007 and her ZLHR lawyer Lizwe Jamela on Wednesday served the army administration with a notice of intention to sue over unfair labour practice, sex, gender and pregnancy-based discrimination against her.

“We served the army and the Ministry of Defence with papers on Wednesday and we will be filing lawsuit papers against them soon,” Jamela said.

ZLHR notified the army of its intention to sue after a letter written on February 26 seeking that the matter be solved out of court through mutual understanding of the parties was ignored.

Shumba is reported to have signed a renewable three-month contract in July 2013 after which she applied for maternity leave that was granted in the same month. The maternity leave was from August 1 2013 to November 2 2013.

“Much to her surprise, during part of her maternity leave, her salary was withheld and upon making inquiries she was advised that she had lost her employment,” the ZLHR notice reads.

“This is not consistent with the normal practice at your institution in cases of this nature.

“We are of the view that the above allegations amount to an unfair labour practice and contradict labour rights as enshrined in section 65 of the Constitution.

“The circumstances of her job loss are therefore unlawful. Having received no response to our letter dated February 26 2014, we are under instructions from our client to institute legal proceedings against the Zimbabwe National Army and the Defence ministry for the alleged unlawful conduct as explained in our letter.”

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