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The administration of Hilton Hotel went to the Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench appealing the Federal High Court’s
verdict that upheld the Federal First Instance Court Kirkos Bench ruling. The Kirkos Bench ruling guarantees the 148 temporary employees, who claimed similar benefits as the hotel’s permanent workers, with regards to service charges and back pay.
The 148 temporary employees of Hilton Addis, who claimed having served the hotel from 2 and half years to 15 years, filed suit against their employer in October, 2011 at the Federal First Instance Court Kirkos Bench. The employees demanded the same benefits as the hotel’s permanent employees.
The Kirkos Bench ruled on March 27, 2012 that the hotel has to pay bonuses and service charges as well as back pay for the preceding six months [before the verdict] to the 148 temporary employees.
The hotel then appealed to the High Court Labour Division noting that temporary employees are hired whenever the hotel is in need of extra manpower for, among others, meetings, weddings and, as a result, it is not subject to pay service charges and bonuses. Even if the hotel has to pay the service charge, they argued, it shouldn’t include back pay as the hotel has paid out all the money it collected. “On top of that, 20 of these employees were absent at their job and their file should be discontinued,” the hotel argued.
The plaintiffs, in a written response presented to the High Court, said that the hotel cannot take the service charge that these temporary employees have sweated for and award it to its permanent employees. Fifteen of the 20 employees, whom the hotel said were absent, were on sick leave, wedding leave and maternity leave, while the rest were at their work place.
The High Court presided by Mohammed Amin Sani upheld the Kirkos Bench’s verdict, except the decision that the hotel should pay the bonuses starting from the date of Kirkos Bench’s verdict, as of March 27.
Dissatisfied with both benches, the hotel has now taken the case to the Cassation Bench, contesting the decision of the Federal High Court and claiming that it committed a fundamental law error.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Girma Haile, is to present a written response to the hotel’s appeal on January 28, 2013.