When Fredinand Jarijo shared schedules with farmers under his charge mid last year, he could never have guessed that 9 months later, he would be unemployed and fighting to get his job back.
On 19 June 2019 Jarijo was found guilty by his employer, Meatco, of “revealing confidential information to an unauthorised person, in that he allegedly shared information which is not supposed to be given to any unauthorised person. He was further found to have misused his position allegedly to leak information entrusted to him for official use only, to an unauthorised person,” at an internal disciplinary hearing conducted by the company.
He stands accused of sending to a farmer the ‘daily cattle list’, which was used by Meatco during the drought period, allowing farmers to bring their cattle into the abattoir for slaughter.
It is believed that some farmers may have had the opportunity to bring their cattle to the abattoir more frequently than others, as the list may or may not have illustrated.
A further allegation read that he brought the company into disrepute and “put the CEO in an extremely unpleasant position.”
Jarijo appealed the ruling of the chairperson of his disciplinary hearing and after some time, the ruling was overthrown by one M Kellerman who chaired the appeal hearing who made a finding that “the Appellant (Jarijo) is to be reinstated retrospectively from the date of his dismissal, with immediate effect, and be paid the remuneration he would have earned, had it not been for his dismissal (back pay, from the date of dismissal to the date of reinstatement) and that “(initial) chairperson’s sanction is to be replaced with a sanction as follows: Final Written Warning, valid for 12 months from the date of its issue.”
This finding was made on 20 November 2019. Four months later, Jarijo has still not been reinstated and has been given the run-around by Meatco since that date.
In the desperate attempt to regain his employment, Jarijo appointed Tjitemisa and Associates, who wrote to Meatco on his behalf.
“We wish to indicate our dismay in the conduct of Meatco in that the appeal finding served on Meatco and its representative Mr Kopplinger on the 20th of November 2019 and same was not forwarded to us until 4th December 2019 when Mr Tjitemisa requested Mr Kopplinger and Mr Eddie Christiaan to be provided with a copy of the appeal finding. The conduct of Meatco is very sinister considering the fact that as per the finding, our client was supposed to be reinstated with immediate effect meaning that he was supposed to report for duty on the 21st of November 2019,” the lawyers letter of 5 December 2019 reads.
Meatco was quick to defend its honour and in a letter signed by a Mr A J Christiaan said in part, “we confirm that we did receive the ruling on 20 November 2019. However, our conduct in not informing your client was anything but sinister. Meatco is in the process of obtaining legal advice on whether said ruling is to be accepted or otherwise. It is our position that the chairperson of the appeal acted on a delegated authority and this delegated authority cannot usurp the authority of the chief executive officer or acting CEO as is the case at present.”
“I have depleted my savings plus the pension I was paid out, on my lawyer’s fees,” says Jarijo.
“My life is at a standstill and I am in limbo. How long could it possibly take to get that legal opinion? I have tried through my lawyer and on my own to speak to HR and to some of the people involved, but nobody seems to want or to be able to give me any answers. My fiancée is carrying us financially at the moment, but it puts a strain on our home while I am in this limbo.”
And what does Meatco say?
“Thank you for your enquiry. Meatco confirms that this is strictly an internal matter of which the Company awaits further information from the concerned party. Due to the confidential nature of the matter, the company cannot at this stage share details on the matter. We cannot even (sic) at this stage discuss disciplinary cases in the media,” wrote the corporate affairs manager Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias.
In the meantime, while the corporation waits, Jarijo remains stuck between a rock and a hard place, even though he was to have been reinstated since the 20th of November 2019.