His Lordship, Hon. Justice Adunola Adewemimo of the National Industrial Court sitting in Akure has declared the suspension of MR. RICHARD OGUNSINA for 51 months without pay by the SANCOMEX ENTERPRISES LTD as wrongful and unjustified.
The court ordered firms to pay claimant the sum of Forty Two Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty Two Naira as 51 months’ salary for the period of suspension, and One Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventeen Naira salary in lieu of notice within 30 days.
From facts, the Claimant averred sometimes in April 2014, the defendants suspended him for a month and after resumption he was not allowed into his office and all attempts to resume duties was frustrated by the GLOBACOM LIMITED -1st defendant.
The claimant also stated that since April 2014, he has constantly been demanding for his entitlement from the defendants to no avail, that he was on suspension for 51 months without pay and his salaries in lieu of his annual leave for the past years remains unpaid.
In opposition, the defendants maintained that upon the expiration of the one month suspension, the claimant refused to show up at the Human Resources Department of the SANCOMEX ENTERPRISES LTD, his true employer, neither did he report at his designated place of work.
The defendants stated further that the claimant understood the modus operandi of a returning staff from suspension (which includes reporting at Personnel/Human Resources Department, where he would be re-interviewed or made to face disciplinary panel before being given fresh instructions where necessary).
The defendants denied frustrating the claimant that it was the claimant who abandoned his duty post and was deemed to have determined his contractual relationship with the 2nd defendant - SANCOMEX ENTERPRISES LTD by his refusal to resume work urged the Court to dismiss the claimant’s claim in its entirety as it lacks merit and same is vexatious, gold digging, speculative and an abuse of Court process.
Counsel submitted that the claimant on his own having abandoned work is deemed to have abandoned his contract of employment that the claimant having not worked for the 2nd defendant for the period claimed is not entitled to any salary or leave bonus.
In Reply, the claimant reiterated that after the expiration of his one month suspension, he reported at his office with the GLOBACOM LIMITED and was instructed to be reporting every day, an instruction he complied with that till date he has not been issued with any letter of termination.
Delivering the Judgment, Justice Adewemimo held that the contention of the defendants that the claimant ought to know that he had to resume at the Human Resources Office of the 2nd defendant to get a new schedule of duties does not hold any water as nothing on record to support the defendants’ assertion on this.
“It is settled law that he who asserts must proof, the defendants retains the duty to proof that this procedure is known to the claimant, and having failed to discharge this burden, the claimant cannot be expected to know the procedure after his suspension and cannot therefore be faulted for doing what any ordinary employee would do i.e. to resume at his duty post.
“I therefore find premised on the above that the claimant's suspension for 51 months without pay by the defendants is wrongful and unjustified.
Lastly, Justice Adewemimo also declared that the claimant’s employment is deemed to have been determined constructively in August, 2018 by the defendants when the suit was initiated.