His Lordship, Hon. Justice Zaynab Bashir of the National Industrial Court, Portharcourt Judicial division has dismissed the suit filed by Mrs Arisukwu Gladys against Trustfund Pensions Limited for lacking merit, ordered Parties to bear their respective cost.
The Court held that the complaint of wrongful termination made against the firm have not been substantiated that the termination was not in breach of the contract of employment which was validly entered into between the Gladys and the firm.
Arising from facts, the claimant- Gladys was offered a Contract Appointment as Ass. Marketing Executive on the 5th October 2006, and received a letter confirmation of appointment with effect from 25th November 2013 and by June 2014 the Defendant purportedly reviewed her salary upward.
She added that sometime in November 2015 she applied for permission to have herself treated of fever and was granted a one-day sick leave but upon resumption, she was issued a letter of dismissal dated the 5th of January, 2016. She pleaded to be reinstated but with no result.
However, the Defendant submitted that Claimant did not at any time during her employment apply for leave nor for any entitlement(s) which was refused that the Claimant absented herself from duty without justification and or permission for a period of over three (3) days contrary to terms of employment, that upon appraisal, it was considered by the management that the continued retention of the Claimant was no longer in the best interest of the firm and as such the Claimant’s employment was terminated with the payment of entitlements.
Counsel to the defendant also submitted that the termination of Claimant’s employment is valid and in accordance with the terms of the contract between the parties urged the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety with substantial cost.
Claimant’s Counsel posited that the Defendant was in breach of the terms, tenor and contents of agreements by the continued retention of the Claimant on a probationary period of employment from the 5th day of October 2006 to 11th day of November 2013, and further that the purported termination of the Claimant’s contract of employment on the ground that Claimant has not worked for the Defendant for five years is an aggravated breach of contract and urged the court to so hold.
The Defendant also averred that the Claimant was only a permanent staff for about 3 years and not entitled to severance benefits.
Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Zaynab Bashir held that whatever was promised to the Claimant that is outside the exhibits tendered before this court can have no impact whatsoever as the express agreement holds sway and no oral evidence is admissible in the circumstance to alter, add to or to vary same.
“While I find that counsel to the Claimant argued heavily with regards to probation, I must state that the said Exhibit makes no mention of probation.
“I can only wonder why the Claimant expected promotion or confirmation as a full member of staff when the letter of appointment makes no mention of such but simply provided for renewal of the contract at the discretion of the Defendant.
“In this regard, I have taken a review of the entire statement of fact and I cannot find where the Claimant specifically stated what the Defendant did that was in contravention of the letter of conversion in terms of termination.
“The Claimant did not allege that period of notice was not given nor allege that the salary in lieu of notice was not paid. Claimant merely stated that the letter of termination was issued ‘without any reasonable justification’.” Justice Zaynab ruled.