A high court in Kenya has ordered Safaricom to pay Wilson Macharia, a blind man KSh6 million ($56,000) for failing to hire him after he had gone through the entire recruitment process.
How did we get here?
It started when Macharia 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.”
Along with other persons living with disabilities, Macharia was shortlisted for the job, went through the oral interview and medical test, after which he was invited to sign the contract in July 2017. It was here that the rubber met the road.
What’s Safaricom saying about this?
Safaricom said it made a mistake inviting Macharia to sign the contract. In its defense, the telecoms firm denied discriminating against Macharia 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 the company violated Macharia’s rights and failed to treat him with dignity. 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.
Bottomline: There’s a long history of discrimination and exclusion of persons with disabilities around the world. The United Nations estimates that there are over 650 million people around the world who live with disabilities; 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school and the literacy rate for adults with disabilities is as low as 3%.
It’s easy for companies to call themselves ‘equal opportunity’ employers but living it out is where the work is at.
Read more: Safaricom to pay blind man $56,000 for refusing to hire him.