Abuja –His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial division has ordered Integrated Corporate Services LIMITED to pay ex-staff Mr. Umaru Usman the sum of Thirty Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Four Naira being one Month salary as damages for wrongful termination of employment, and the sum of N200,000.00 cost of action within 14 days.
The court held that where there is a breach of terms and conditions of service as in this case, the court will declare the termination wrongful.
The claimant approached the Court via general form of complaint dated 13/10/2017 and sought against defendant amongst others; A DECLARATION that the termination of employment of the claimant by the Defendant by the letter dated 6th March 2017 is a violation of the terms of the employment of the claimant by the Defendant. An ORDER directing the Defendant to pay to the claimant all the entitlements due to the claimant as to the result of the termination of the employment of the claimant by the Defendant.
Likewise, the sum of N5, 000,000 (Five-Million Naira) damages for wrongful termination of employment and the sum of N500, 000 cost of the suit.
From the statement of facts, Claimant was employed by the Defendant on 9th October 2007 and was posted to work with a bank as casual staff, that while he was on sick leave the Defendant suddenly terminated his employment. The Claimant averred that the Defendant in issuing the letter of termination did not give him the requisite notice in writing nor pay one (1) month basic salary in lieu of notice.
And that despite their letter of demand, the Defendant failed to comply with the terms of the employment and the wrongful termination has entitled him to damages and all entitlements due to him.
The defendant stated that the Claimant failed to comply with the staff personnel policies guide and the company’s operational guide when he did not seek and obtain permission to proceed on sick leave, that it was due to the claimant’s truancy that where he was seconded to, wrote to the Company stating that the services of the Claimant was no longer required and a replacement was requested.
That the claimant was duly informed of exit form as a condition precedent at the village meeting between staff and management of the defendant. That a copy of the exit form was handed over to both Claimant and his personal solicitor the Company’s recruitment officer, that the claimant was adamant and still refused to sign the forms despite repeated demands.
That the claimant is not entitled to any other terminal benefit, apart from his fund in the pension scheme, which he can access upon following due process stipulated by the Pension Act urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.
Claimant Counsel submitted that the operational Procedure and staff manual Policy Guide are worthless pieces of documents without probative values that those documents are unsigned and did not disclose their makers.
The presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado held that Conditions of service are not usually signed, that the absence of signature does not render conditions of service invalid or loose evidential value.
“It has been settled by long lines of decided cases that an aggrieved employee who complained of wrongful termination of his employment is under an obligation to plead and prove his contract of service.
“The letter of employment clearly did not make the two exhibits (operational Procedure and staff manual Policy Guide) tendered by the defendants to be part of the terms and conditions of service of the claimant.
“I have combed the entire evidence adduced by the defendant and there is nothing before me in terms of concrete evidence to show that the claimant was served with the two documents.
“Therefore the defendant has no basis or justification to insist that the claimant must fill exit form before his entitlements are paid to him. This attitude amount to violation of the claimant right to be paid salary in lieu of notice, contemporaneously with the termination. Even if the said exhibits are part of the terms and conditions of service, they are not capable of denying the claimant of the right to be paid salary in lieu of notice until he fills exit form.
“Where there is a breach of terms and conditions of service as in this case, the court will declare the termination wrongful.” Justice Kado rules
The court declared the termination of claimant’s employment as wrongful, ordered defendant (firm) to pay the sum of N38,304.00 (Thirty-Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Four Naira only), being one Month salary as damages for wrongful termination of employment, and the sum of N200,000.00 cost of action within 14 days.