NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – A Nakuru based Law Firm Ronald K. Onyango Advocates LLP, working as co-counsel in a legal battle in Scotland has won an intimidation case against James Finlay Tea.
The Scottish Court last week stopped James Finlay (Kenya) Ltd (‘Finlays’) from threatening, intimidating employees and from destroying, removing, or altering medical or employment records required as evidence in court concerning a case filed against it by Kenya tea workers.
RKO Advocates LLP in Kenya working as co-counsel with Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland and Ozon Solicitors in England moved to court in Scotland at the Court of Session with complaints about harassment of workers. They successfully obtained an interim interdict order on 8 April 2022 against Finlay in Kericho precluding them from intimidating or threatening any Tea workers employees in any way at their estates in Kenya.
They were prevented from engaging in any conduct or act calculated to intimidate any employees or dissuade them from joining the case in Scotland or continuing with the case against Finlay.
The tea workers had complained against Finlay’s actions and conduct which included engaging in destroying and altering of medical and employment records required in the court in Scotland. The employees also complained of being threatened and intimidated as a result of being part of the case in Scotland.
The workers filed Affidavits including one by an employee who complained that being part of the case resulted in threats concerning his disabled son who depends on the treatment and support from Finlay’s Medical facilities and was further threatened with consequences of dismissal which would, in turn, affect his disabled son.
Another employee complained that his house had been broken into after his dismissal and his refusal to hand back a dismissal letter previously issued with reasons linking him to the Scottish case, which he believes was aimed at hiding the fact that he had been sacked for suing Finlay in Scotland.
The above undertaking will expire upon the conclusion of the Group Proceedings with Court Reference CP3/21.
The presiding Judge, Lord Braid said he was satisfied with the position adopted by the parties and awarded costs against Finlay. On acceptance of the undertaking given by Finlay’s directors, the original interdict has been lifted for the time being meaning the matter could be reopened in the future if tea workers found a reason to complain and go back to court with the same complaints.
This now means that if any James Finlay (Kenya) Ltd tea worker, whether they have sued or not in Scotland, or intend to continue or join the case is threatened or intimidated in any way, they can now report such threats or acts of intimidation to RKO Advocates LLP to take immediate action in Scotland with their Co-Counsel, Thompson Solicitors and Ozon Solicitors.
Finlay is represented by CMS Cameron Mckenna LLP, Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP. Andrew Smith QC appeared for the Tea Workers, whilst Lord Davidson of Glen Clova QC appeared for Finlay.
Finlays, which is based in Aberdeen, is said to have subjected workers to dangerous and damaging conditions on its tea farms.
According to court documents, hundreds of Kenyan workers at the Scottish tea producer that supplies Starbucks, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were deprived of maternity leave and suitable lavatory facilities.