How do I deal with an employer who fires at will?

Friday November 1 2019

Caroline Mboijana

Caroline Mboijana 

By Caroline Mboijana

My boss fired me after I returned from my father’s funeral without justification. I resumed work after a week, worked two days, got sick but continued working until my boss asked me to take bed rest. I returned after two days, that’s when my boss told me to stop work. I have no contract and have been working for a year without leave, and only Sunday off. Jane

Dear Jane,
If you’ve worked for more than 6 months; have been working continuously; been given tools of trade to work and have received payment for your services; are required to be at and leave work at a certain time during specific workdays, it can be interpreted that prior to your termination you were employed under a verbal contract of employment.

Furthermore, because you’ve worked for a considerable amount of time, the basic framework that defines the relationship between employer and employee, as defined in the Employment Act, is applicable. Approach, your employer one last time and ask for this matter to be addressed.

It’s important you raise your grievances in the form of a written application (detailing the unfair termination, lack of notice, lack of payment in lieu of annual leave). Documentation of your complaint serves as evidence of your attempt for resolution.

If you are unsuccessful in this last attempt, raise this matter with your local labour officer. According to the National Employment Policy for Uganda 2011, labour officers are legally empowered to arbitrate between workers and employers on undesirable working conditions.

Much of a labour officer’s time is devoted to dispute resolution at the expense of labour inspection activities. This means the service provided to you is at no cost and is an affordable avenue to have your matter resolved. Provide details of both your employment history and the circumstance under which you were terminated.


Moving forward, before you start your next employment, insist on having a written contract that defines your relationship in the workplace and ensures your rights are protected.

Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)