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GIZ Kenya Irregularly Terminates Employee Over Pregnancy

CAPTION: GIZ Country Director, Bodo Immink

A former female Kenyan employee at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (Known in English as German Corporation for International Cooperation) has come out to protest what she terms as irregular termination of her contract due to pregnancy.

Speaking to us on Tuesday, April 26th, the victim who preferred to keep her identity anonymous narrated how she was unfairly sacked from her role as a Business Development Advisor on flimsy grounds of nonperformance.

As she explains in the submission shared below, her life at GIZ was going all well and smooth until November 2020 when a team retreat to Naivasha changed everything.

During the trip, the Agriculture cluster supervisor Lucie Pluschke realized she was pregnant and could not hide her disappointment.

From hereon, she became a prime target for well-orchestrated bullying and discrimination as Ms Pluschke relentlessly kept trying to push her away from the German development agency based along Riverside Road in Nairobi.

Her probation was extended and tasks were poorly rated.

Even in her final days of labour, she was forced to report to work during maternity leave.

It was no surprise that when she eventually gave birth, she returned to work only to find that the firm had already hired someone to replace her.

When she requested clarity, the administration did not bother to respond to the matter.

Citing potential racism, she insists that the German supervisor must have rallied her fellow German executives and ensured her case never saw the light of day.

After the long cat and mouse games, GIZ finally cut the chase and offered the victim a 2 months’ salary and asked her not to pursue justice in court.

She turned down the offer and demanded a full salary until the end of the contract.

A few days later, on Monday, April 25th, she was issued a termination letter through Armin Kloeckner who forced the Human Resource (HR) Manager to initiate the contract termination.

CAPTION: GIZ Agriculture cluster supervisor Lucie Pluschke alongside Armin Kloeckner

“Hi, Nyakundi,

I have an issue that I would like you to highlight.

I have been terminated at GIZ- a German agency – because of pregnancy.

I was a Business Development Advisor.

I started employment at GIZ in June 2020 at the height of Corona when we were working from home.

All went well until November when we went for a team retreat in Naivasha 6 months later and my supervisor Lucie Pluschke realized I was pregnant.

That is when hell broke loose.

Immediately after the retreat, my probation was extended without any meaningful reason.

She was disappointed by the pregnancy and thereafter anything I did was treated as nonperformance.

I was bullied, isolated from the team, ostracized and my supervisor would tell me that I did not belong to GIZ.

On many occasions, she told me to go elsewhere as she did not think I belonged.

She gave me different tasks and would complain that I didn’t do them satisfactorily.

She extended my probation in December 2020, by which time I was 6 months pregnant.

I proceeded on maternity leave in March and was forced to work partly during maternity leave.

She forced me to work while in labour.

On the 2nd of March, she sent assignments and I had my baby that night.

When I resumed from maternity leave, she had already hired someone else in my place.

She went ahead to take away the assignments I had before maternity leave and reallocate them to other team members.

I inquired severally if my job description had changed but there was no response.

People are suffering in silence in GIZ.

I was in the Agriculture cluster.

There is a similar case of someone who was harassed in the Energy cluster as a result of pregnancy.

Last year in Uganda people demonstrated against the organization.

I also suffered as a result of racism.

My German supervisor rallied fellow Germans and none of them listened to my case, instead, they sided with their fellow Germans.

Eventually, they asked me to take 2 months’ salary and not take them to court (I have the letter).

I refused and asked for my full salary until the end of the contract.

That’s when they sent a termination letter yesterday.

Lucie my supervisor is in Allianz Plaza which is located along Riverside Drive.

We cannot allow discrimination and racism to continue in our country where foreigners come to harass us because of pregnancy or attending to our families and put us through mental stress and trauma,” the victim cries out.

GIZ is the main German development agency that provides services in the field of international development cooperation and international education work.

Its main commissioning party is Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Other commissioners include European Union institutions, the United Nations, the private sector, and governments of other countries.

In its projects, GIZ works with partners in national governments, actors from the private sector, civil society and research institutions.

GIZ has been working in Kenya since 1975.

The Country Director is Country Director is Bodo Immink

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