An advertisement by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) indicating 45 years as the upper age limit for applicants seeking teaching jobs in secondary schools has sparked a legal battle.
While TSC seeks to recruit more secondary school teachers, lawyer Soyianka Lempaa, a Kenyatta University-trained teacher, claims the age restriction is discriminatory.
Mr Lempaa says that because the retirement age in the public service is 60 years, the restriction at age 45 denies deserving Kenyans 15 years of serving the nation as teachers.
“The decision by TSC is therefore unreasonable, and discriminatory since there is no justification either in law or fact, the matter has arisen within the jurisdiction of the court and unless this practice is stopped forthwith, many Kenyans will suffer,” he said.
In the case documents, he argues that since TSC made it clear that it will not entertain any direct correspondence in the recruitment process except through its county directors as well as boards of managements.
He further argues that a person who joins university at age 40 and graduates four years later with a degree in education would be barred from securing employment with TSC if such a condition is allowed.
The disputed advert appeared in local dailies on January 29 and sought applications from qualified Kenyans aged below 45 years.
But Mr Lempaa claimed that the age limit is unreasonable as it also did not come with any explanation in an open and democratic society.
He also claims that it is a violation of the values and principles of the public service.
He therefore wants the court to declare the age limit rule arbitrary and unconstitutional as per the TSC Act as well as the Employment Act 2007.
He also wants TSC compelled to conduct a fresh teacher recruitment process that has no age discrimination condition.
The case will be heard on February 21 before Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Nelson Abuodha.