Terminal Benefit: Industrial Court interprets Ex-staff purported retirement to resignation
Lagos---His Lordship, Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed Mr Isaiah Jiringho terminal benefit claims against First Bank for lacking merit.
The court held that Mr. Isaiah payment of one month salary in lieu of notice and immediate handover is not a requirement under handbook for retirement but for termination/resignation.
The claimant – Mr Isaiah served as Deputy Manager before his written retirement letter in July 2015 via the window for the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme with Incentives.
He maintained further that the applications of all his colleagues who applied were approved but his application was denied and the notice of denial was not communicated to him until 27th of October, 2016 well over a year after he had retired from the service urged the court to grant his relief.
The defendant stated that the claimant’s request for voluntary early retirement made was completely alien to his terms of employment, having not attained the age of 55 years nor met 30 years’ service benchmark and because the application was not brought within the window time, that upon resignation, claimant paid one month salary in lieu in accordance with his terms of employment.
Mr Isaiah argued that the bank handbook allowed him to voluntarily retire by the use of the phrase “or at his/her own discretion” and still be entitled to all the benefits of early retirement.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Oji held that claimant was not qualified under either of the provisions of the handbook and consequently not qualified for the early retirement benefits.
"To suggest that the phrase ‘at his/her own discretion’ implies that one could retire at any age outside that already stipulated, and still enjoy the benefits of the two classified ones, would lead to an absurd situation." Justice Oji ruled
In all, the court found that claimant’s exit from the defendant was a resignation of his appointment and that claimant has not established his entitlement to the reliefs sought.