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Industrial Court awards N500,000 damages against OOU for wrongful employment termination

627 Friday 12th March 2021

His Lordship, Hon. Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere of National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan Judicial division has declared the termination of Dr. Emmanuel Ladele's employment from Olabisi Onabanjo University as wrongful, ordered the University to pay Ladele’s the sum of Three Hundred and Twenty-Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Two Naira as balance of salary in lieu of notice, and Five Hundred Thousand Naira N500,000.00 for general damages within 30 days.

The Court held that the university and its council were wrong in terminating the appointment of Dr. ladele’s without prior notice and payment of months’ salary in lieu of notice as agreed by the parties in their terms and conditions of the employment.

From facts, the claimant- Dr. Emmanuel Ladele had submitted that the termination of his employment was not in line with the terms and conditions of his employment, maintained that the sum of N453,154.58 paid into his account was done in bad faith and during the pendency of the suit which he returned.

In defence, the University counsel submitted that the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the action for want of compliance with the school Law as to the length of the notice of intention to commence the action, urged the Court to dismiss the case.

Furthermore, the University counsel, J.J. Ogunyemi Esq contended that Dr. Ladele was advised to access his salary in lieu of notice by completing the copies of the clearance forms attached to his termination letter, that at the time of the payment of the money to the claimant account, the University was not yet aware of the pendency of the suit.

In opposition, Dr. Ladele’s counsel Oluwaseun Shotonwa Esq. averred that his client has complied with the pre-action notice, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere assumed jurisdiction and held that Dr. ladele's pre-action notice to the Institution and its council has substantially complied with the provision of University Law.

“In the circumstances, I hold that subjecting the payment of the claimant’s three month’s salary in lieu of notice to the completion of clearance forms is wrongful and so, the termination of the claimant’s employment with immediate effect without payment in lieu of notice is wrongful. 

“I hold that the sum of N782,877.00 is the claimant’s three (3) months’ salary in lieu of notice. However, because the claimant did not return the sum of N453,154.58 paid to him by the defendants as he claimed, he is only entitled to N329,722.42 as his three months’ salary in lieu of notice after removing N453,154.58 from N782,877.00.”

Click on this link to read full judgment via the judgment’s Portall