Does an internship amount to an employment relationship?: Atege v. Monda

The recent case of Atege v. Monda analyzed the legal position of interns and whether an internship amounts to an employment relationship. Justice Baari examined the issue of rights and protections available to interns under Kenyan employment law, including the requirements for lawful termination. The case affirms that interns are considered employees under the Employment Act and are thus entitled to basic rights and protections against unfair dismissal. It highlights the obligation on employers to issue contracts stipulating terms even for internship programs.

Title: Atege v. Monda

Court: Employment and Labour Relations Court at Kisumu

Judge: Christine N. Baari

Facts of the Case:

  • Atege claimed he was employed by Monda as an accountant at Kisii Shell Station on a salary of Ksh32,000.

  • Monda argued Atege was an intern paid a monthly stipend of Ksh15,000.

  • No written contract was signed. Atege was summarily terminated without notice or procedure.

  • Atege sued for unfair dismissal and payment of underpaid salary. The lower court dismissed his claim for lack of proof of employment.

Key Issues:

  • Whether Atege was an employee or intern of Monda

  • If an employment relationship existed, whether the termination was unlawful

  • Whether Atege was entitled to any payments or compensation

Court's Determination:

  • The court found an employer-employee relationship existed as an intern is considered an employee under the law.

  • Monda had an obligation to issue a contract stipulating Atege's role and terms.

  • In the absence of a contract, the termination was unlawful for lack of due notice and procedure.

  • Atege was awarded salary for one unpaid month, one month salary for lack of notice and two months salary as compensation for unfair dismissal.

  • His claim for alleged underpayment of salary was dismissed for lack of proof.


  • Interns are employees and entitled to basic protections under employment law.

  • Employers must issue contracts stipulating terms even for interns.

  • Unlawful summary dismissal entitles the employee to notice pay and compensation.

  • Burden is on employer to prove payment of lawful salary if disputed.