The employee was employed as a Transaction Officer with effect from the 17th of November 2008. He was suspended from duty on the 15th of May, 2009 following an investigation into the sum of K804 million, unauthorized overdraft on an account held in the respondent's Bank by a company called ZCON,it being alleged that the appellant failed to manage the credit portfolio by not constantly reviewing the overdrawn account, leading to the customer's overdrawn position exceeding the approved limit of K350 million.
It was further alleged that the employee had provided false information that the client had an approved facility of K1.2 million and, thereby, misleading the Operations and Branch staff to action the transactions. This conduct, according to the respondent, amounted to gross misconduct, contrary to the employer’s Staff Handbook. He was subsequently suspended and thereafter summarily dismissed.
The Supreme Court held that the employee was given the opportunity to be heard on the issues relating the ZCON account. The burden was on the employee to show that the right to an opportunity to be heard was violated. Further, the Supreme Court stressed that where there is no prescribed manner by which the employer affords the employee an opportunity to be heard, it is imperative that the employer gives a chance to the employee to defend himself in some way. In the circumstances, the employee had been given a chance to be heard in some form.
As it related to summary dismissal, the court held that where an employee commits a serious offence, the employer is not restricted by procedural requirements and contractual procedures. In such circumstances, dismissal is justified as he committed a serious, dismissible offence.
"Rabson Sikombe v. Access Bank (Zambia) Limited SCZ Appeal No. 240/2013,"
SAIPAR Case Review: Vol. 5:
1, Article 19.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/scr/vol5/iss1/19