Employment in Kenya

Anjarwalla & Khanna

Anjarwalla & Khanna has expanded its client base of major multinational, regional and Kenyan corporates. The practice has an even balance of transactional, advisory and dispute-related matters. The firm has defended a number of significant Kenyan corporates against high-value employee and executive claims. It has also demonstrated its expertise in redundancy exercises and reorganisation programmes. The firm remains active in transaction-related matters, notably M&A deals and private equity investments. Rosa Nduati-Mutero is a leading employment specialist, while Faith Macharia is an up-and-coming name in employment disputes. Aisha Abdallah and Sonal Sejpal are also key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Sonal Sejpal; Rosa Nduati-Mutero

Other key lawyers:

Faith Macharia; Aisha Abdallah 

Testimonials

‘They are highly reliable and their advice is sound. They have an Africa network that sufficiently covers our East African business.’

‘I worked with Rosa Nduati Mutero and she is a professional with deep expertise in her area of practice.’

Key clients

OLA Energy Kenya

Kenya Airways

African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

Aga Khan Health Service, Kenya

Simba Corporation

Helios Investment Partners (Helios) and Telkom Kenya

International Center For Tropical Agriculture

Lufthansa Cargo

Forum for Africa Women Educationists

Planned Parenthood Federation

Fleur Africa

WPP Scan Group

Sika Kenya

Work highlights

  • Acted for Kenya Airways in a dispute with pilots represented by the Kenya Airline Pilots Association.
  • Acted for OLA Energy Kenya in connection with nine separate employment claims filed by its former senior employees citing unlawful termination and discrimination at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
  • Acted for African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) in a suit before the Employment & Labour Relations Court, where the former CEO filed a petition seeking a declaration that the privileges and immunities granted to ATI by the government of Kenya are unconstitutional, null and void in relation to the Employment Act 2010.

Bowmans

Bowmans has achieved further prominence in acting for an increasing number of large multinationals in East Africa employment matters. This includes M&A-linked issues, disputes and employee incentive plans, particularly employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The firm has been active in advising clients on retrenchment exercises and employment disputes. Rainbow Field has an extensive record in employee transfers and ESOPs. Terry Mwango provides further expertise in employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rainbow Field

Other key lawyers:

Terry Mwango

Testimonials

‘Rainbow Field is very responsive and knowledgeable about employment law.’

‘Rainbow Field is responsive, pragmatic and very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Habitat for Human International

Sanlam Kenya

Aramex Kenya

Spinners and Spinners

Mastercard International

Andela

Andela Kenya

Educate!

Nairobi Java House

Ericsson Kenya

Work highlights

  • Advised Sanlam Kenya and its subsidiaries on implementing a restructuring/retrenchment exercise.
  • Defend Ericsson Kenya against a claim lodged by a former employee in the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC). The claim was for making deductions to the employee’s salary above the statutory allowed limit.
  • Advising Nairobi Java House on to how to deal with difficulties arising out of the day-to-day management of employment contracts due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions implemented by the government of Kenya to contain its spread.

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews is best known for its engagements in major employment disputes, though it has a genuinely rounded practice covering disciplinary processes, performance improvement plans, termination processes, redundancy processes, and the drafting and review of employment contracts. It represents a number of significant Kenyan businesses and the local arms of multinationals. Michi Kirimi is a senior name for employment disputes, while Lorna Mainnah is recognised for a broad range of employment and immigration matters. Emerging talent Ezra Makori was promoted to partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Fraser SC; Richard Omwela

Other key lawyers:

Michi Kirimi; Lorna Mainnah; Ezra Makori 

Testimonials

Professional and knowledgeable, prompt in response, good in reach and their interpretation of the law is helpful.

The team is generally very knowledgeable in the area of practice and up to date with current trends. They are also thorough in research and give comprehensive opinions.

Michi Kirimi is thorough, dedicated and always available to give whichever support that we might require in this area.

Key clients

Kenya Kazi Security Services

Echotel International

Gatsby Africa

CIM Financial Services

Ingredion

G4S Kenya

Sentrim Group

Oasis Floralife

We Effect

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a multinational security services company in proceedings filed by a trade union.
  • Advised a development corporation focused on gender equality in respect to disciplinary proceedings.
  • Advised an international airline on the impact of the Cpvid-19 pandemic on the employment relationships for organisations whose operations have been significantly affected by the pandemic.

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates handles a range of transactional, advisory and contentious employment matters. The firm is at the forefront of restructuring exercises, including voluntary redundancies and retirements, and high-value employment claims. In a landmark matter, it also defended the Kenyan government in a challenge to the president's power to make appointments of chairpersons and members of the board in state corporations. William Maema is a key figure in non-contentious and contentious employment matters. Martin Munyu is an experienced practitioner in employment and labour relations disputes. Christine Njau provides additional support at associate level.

Practice head(s):

William Maema; Kamau Karori

Other key lawyers:

Martin Munyu; Christine Njau; Tabitha Weru

Testimonials

‘I find the team to be extremely efficient. They respond to emails and queries with impressive speed. They are thoroughly experienced in their field. Compared to other firms, they give advice with a human touch without leaving it at the technical jargon. All the options and processes are well explained. The staff are courteous and friendly.’

‘We rely heavily on their advice for good governance and compliance. IKM are extremely professional, efficient and proactive.’

‘They take their work personally and want to achieve a successful outcome. They are thorough and support their advice with clear reasoning, logic and case law – this gives confidence.’

‘The turnaround is impressive. The team responds promptly to requests. Their services are also thoroughly researched. The ability of the legal team to have a business mindset and offer legal solutions to solve business problems is impeccable.’

‘Professional, polite and readily available.’

‘Professional, objective, efficient and reachable.’

‘William Maema stands out for me. He skilfully breaks down the matter at hand and simplifies it. He gives undivided attention during consultation, demonstrates empathy and passion over the matter. William is prompt in attending to me and makes me feel that my well being matters and it is a priority for him. The advice he gives is sound, well thought out and relevant. He is without a shadow of doubt an expert in his practice.’

‘Martin Munyu is dedicated, resourceful and committed.’

‘Tabitha Weru is hard working, objective and efficient.’

Key clients

Church World Services

Hillcrest Investments

Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery

LAB International Kenya

Dummen Orange/ Fides Kenya

Film Aid Kenya

TechnoServe Kenya

Strathmore University

Stanbic Bank Kenya

Work highlights

  • Advised Stanbic Bank Kenya on the restructuring of its work force involving voluntary early retirement (VER).
  • Successfully represented Central Bank of Kenya and the Board of Trustees of Central Bank of Kenya Pension Fund in an employment claim filed by a former employee seeking compensation in excess of $1.6m being alleged withheld salary, loss of earning and pension.
  • Represented the government of Kenya in a petition challenging the power of the president and cabinet secretaries to make appointments of chairpersons and board members of state corporations.

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates fields one of the largest and most established teams in the market, with extensive expertise in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, along with a fully-developed pensions and employee benefits practice (including ESOPs). The team represents a range of well-known Kenyan corporates, public sector bodies, and local and regional arms of multinationals. It has achieved a series of headline court victories on behalf of clients, including successfully arguing that the Employment and Labour Relations Court has no jurisdiction to determine pension disputes. The immensely experienced Sam Wainaina is a leader in pensions work, while Esther Kinyenje is a key name for industrial relations disputes, including those linked to collective bargaining agreements. Cosima Wetende is another leading employment litigator.

Practice head(s):

Sam Wainaina

Other key lawyers:

Esther Kinyenje; Cosima Wetende

Testimonials

‘From my experience in dealing with the firm, I found them to be very professional, responsive, strategic in their thinking and solution oriented. They also have the necessary expertise and experience required to support our business.’

‘Esther Kinyenje has over the years assisted us on industrial relation matters, commercial litigation, real estate and general commercial advice. She very knowledgeable and experienced in employment and labour relations matters and in litigation.’

Over the past 12 months, Esther Kinyenje has been instrumental in helping us in advising, drafting and registering collective bargaining agreements.’

Key clients

Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa

Prudential Life Assurance Kenya

Kenya Tea Growers Association

Kenol Kobil

Unilever Kenya Ltd and Unilever Tea

AMREF Health Africa

Samsung Kenya

British American Tobacco (BAT)

Tata Chemicals Magadi

Orpower 4

Nestlé Kenya

Eastern Produce Kenya

Path International (Kenya)

Kenya Ports Authority

Care International

Work highlights

  • Successfully argued in the Supreme Court that the Employment and Labour Relations Court has no jurisdiction to determine pension disputes.
  • Successfully represented Eastern Produce Kenya in a class action suit by more than 100 unionisable employees who participated in a mass illegal strike and sued the company seeking compensatory damages for wrongful termination.
  • Successfully represented Engen Kenya against various injunction applications instituted by employees to stop the takeover of the company by Vivo Kenya.

Oraro & Company Advocates

Oraro & Company Advocates is principally known for contentious employment matters, thanks to its dispute resolution-centric heritage. The firm has extensive experience of trade union disputes and pensions cases. It represents some of the biggest employers in the jurisdiction. Managing partner Chacha Odera has over 30 years' experience in dispute resolution with a significant portion of employment cases, including recent class actions. Georgina Ogalo-Omondi is an emerging talent.

Practice head(s):

Chacha Odera; Georgina Ogalo-Omondi

Key clients

Kenya Railways Corporation

National Bank of Kenya

TelPosta Pension Scheme

Sankara Hotel

Aga Khan University Hospital – Nairobi

Kenya Airways

Central Bank of Kenya

Kenya National Union of Teachers

Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya

CIC Insurance Group Limited

BIDCO Africa

Art Caffe Coffee & Bakery

Tumaini Self Service

Aidspan

Work highlights

  • Defended TelPosta Pension Scheme in a case before the Retirement Benefits Tribunal for unpaid retirement dues.
  • Acted in various claims for the Attorney General of Kenya challenging section 85 of the Finance Act 2018.

MMAN Advocates

MMAN Advocates is best known for transactional and advisory work in the employment space. In this regard, corporate and commercial partner Carole Ayugi  has extensive experience in employment matters for Kenyan and multinational clients. Much of the practice centres on the employment aspects of M&A transactions, outsourcing arrangements and pension scheme arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Carole Ayugi

Testimonials

‘They are readily available and supportive.’

‘Consistency, good knowledge and application of the law.’

Key clients

G4S & G4S Kenya

GlaxoSmithKline

Atkins Consulting Engineers

ENI

AIT Ingredients South Africa

Eaton Corporation

Microsoft

DRYGRO

Turkish Airlines

Oxford University Press

Amazon Kenya

Work highlights

  • Advised on all local aspects of the international sale of G4S’s cash businesses to The Brinks Company, which involved advising G4S Kenya on its separation of cash solutions business from secure solutions, electronics and fire businesses.
  • Advised GSK on the Kenyan component of its outsourcing of its International IT Services to HCL in a number of jurisdictions across the world.
  • Advised Zamara Actuaries Administrators & Consultants on pension law and pension-related matters for the pension and provident schemes administered by Zamara Actuaries, Administrators & Consultants, which is the largest administrator in the country based on pension schemes.

Munyao Muthama & Kashindi

Munyao Muthama & Kashindi has attracted an impressive number of Kenyan corporates, such as Safaricom, along with financial institutions, agencies and trade unions. The firm has a fine record in contentious and non-contentious matters, including headline unfair dismissal claims, labour relations and collective bargaining. Irene Kashindi is a recognised employment specialist, covering both contentious and non-contentious matters. George Kashindi provides further senior-level experience.

Practice head(s):

Irene Kashindi

Other key lawyers:

George Kashindi

Testimonials

In my view, what makes MMK Advocates unique is their ability to be in touch with our needs, and the nuanced attention and legal advice that they provide to us. Their strength is an ability to provide in-depth research and provide information/reports that aid with decision making.

Irene Kashindi provides balanced, detailed and relevant legal counsel on matters that are forwarded to her. She also provides this within a pretty short time and we are all happy with her turnaround times. She also has in depth hands on experience dealing with emerging issues and this makes her stand tall. She is the go-to advocate for us for all matters employment law and labour relations.

Key clients

Safaricom

Unilever Kenya

Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA)

Kenya Ports Authority

National Insurance Hospital Fund (NHIF)

Spire Properties

Laikipia County Assembly

Youth Enterprise Development Fund Board

Cosmos

Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission (IEBC)

Kenya Trade Agency

Work highlights

  • Represented Safaricom in a number of cases, including defending the client against claims of alleged unlawful dismissals and termination of employment of its former employees.
  • Represented Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) in a suit challenging measures taken by Kenya Airways during the Covid-19 pandemic including unilaterally sending pilots on unpaid leave.
  • Represented Youth Enterprise Development Fund in a contentious case both at Employment and Labour Relations Court as well as the Court of Appeal, where a former Chief Executive Officer seeks reinstatement to employment.

TripleOKlaw Advocates

TripleOKlaw Advocates is noted for a broad mix of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, along with extensive immigration expertise. Marysheila Onyango-Oduor is a recognised employment specialist, John Ohaga is key for labour disputes and Jinaro Kibet for immigration.

Walker Kontos Advocates

Walker Kontos Advocates represents a range of multinationals. embassies and banks, while its alliance with Norton Rose Fulbright gives it greater credibility in cross-border and international matters. It has a particularly fine record in insolvency-related employment issues. State and diplomatic immunity is another forte. Gregory Karungo and Paul Ogunde are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Karungo; Paul Ogunde; Alexandra Kontos

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Consolidated Bank of Kenya

SBM Bank (Mauritius)

Société de Promotion et de Participation Coopération Economique (PROPARCO)

Standard Bank Group (Standard Bank of South Africa)

Stanbic Bank Kenya

The Trade and Development Bank

Coöperatieve Rabobank

Citibank

Bank of Africa Group

Absa Bank Kenya

I&M Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

KCB Bank Kenya

Jamii Bora Bank

NCBA Bank Kenya

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor

Ontwikkelingslanden

European Investment Bank

Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)

GuarantCo

Work highlights

  • Advised Intercontinental Nairobi on a claim filed by an employee, Fredrick Ogutu, for wrongful termination.
  • Advised Fairview Hotel on a claim filed by an employee for wrongful termination.

Anne Babu & Co.

Anne Babu & Co. is recommended for redundancy exercises, both for domestic and international businesses. Anne Babu is the name partner and a recognised employment law specialist.

Practice head(s):

Anne Babu

Testimonials

The firm offers a tailor-made approach to their clients, have a quick turn around time and are always resourceful. A good example would be if an issue they are approached for also requires expertise that is not within their firm, they readily will offer referrals and their initial opinion unprompted and at no extra cost. Other firms have not gone out of their way to do this and when they have, will bill for this extra service.

I find the team very proactive in their services and advice. They are well versed and always updated on the emerging issues. They are knowledgeable and very resourceful.

Anne Babu is an exceptional employment and labour relations expert. She is an innovative problem solver and will always try to resolve a dispute without arbitrarily escalating to court even though billing for court attendance would be higher. Her advice is always tailored to the best outcome for both parties which in some instances is a departure from the grandstanding that is negotiations.

Key clients

Credit Bank

Liquid Telcom

Dalberg Advisors

Development Initiatives

Aga Khan Education Service Kenya

Crowne Plaza Hotel

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Busara Center for Behavioral Sciences

Johnson & Johnson

Ernst & Young

Doctors without Borders

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates is noted for transaction-related employment matters and ESOPs. Corporate and commercial partner Shitul Shah is experienced in this area, while Samir Inamdar and the dispute resolution team are experienced in employment litigation.