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ECOWAS Court dismisses claims of discrimination by Physically Challenged Senegalese

The ECOWAS Court has dismissed a suit brought by a disabled Senegalese company manager alleging that he was sacked by the company, which has the concession to provide trolley services at the country’s airport, because of his physical disability.

In dismissing the case, Justice Keikura Bangura, the Judge Rapporteur in the case who read the judgment, the Court said that Mr. Leiti Diop did not provide proof of the alleged discrimination and consequently dismissed his request for reinstatement. It also ordered both parties to bear their costs.

In the initiating application no ECW/CCJ/APP/47/17, Mr Diop, said that the he was an employee of a company contracted by Senegal’s Airport Authority to operate trolley services in the check-in hall of its international airport.

But he added that the Agreement No. 10-015 dated 30th September 2010, which was the basis for the contract, was terminated after his company refused to move from the leased area of the airport as requested by the Authority and that he was singled out from other concessionaires to relocate due to his physical disability.

He therefore asked the Court to hold the Senegalese government liable for the violation and order his reinstatement to his former position and payment of 10,000 CFA francs per day of delay.

He also asked for 500 million CFA francs as compensation and for the Senegalese government to equally bear the costs of litigation.

In a counter argument, the Senegalese government submitted that the earlier agreement was terminated by its 2014 decision on the grounds of public interest and constitution of an integrated command post.

In addition, Mr Diop had approached a national court which ruled in his favour and awarded him 5 million CFA francs for breach of contract and that by approaching the ECOWAS Court, the applicant was asking for a variation of the decision of the national court which is against the jurisprudence of the Court which has severally held that it ‘is neither an Appellate Court nor a Cassation Court of decisions of national courts’.

It asked the Court to dismiss the case as it is ill-founded and order the reimbursement of 500 million CFA francs in legal fees.

In its analysis, the Court noted that correspondence and agreements between parties was between the government agency and the company, Diop’s employer and that none pointed out any issue of discrimination targeted at Mr Diop.

The Court also noted that Mr Diop’s request for reinstatement was not a matter before the Court as evidence of termination of employment was not submitted before the Court but termination of contract between two entities.

The Court observed that though Mr Diop claimed human rights violation, he failed to prove the allegations.

Consequently, Leiti Diop’s claims were all dismissed.

Also on the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Gberi-Be Ouattara.

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