Court dismisses alleged unlawful employment termination claim against Eko Electricity Company

Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has dismissed the case filed by one Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu against Eko Electricity Distribution Company on alleged wrongful employment termination for lack of proof.

 

The Court held that Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu has failed to prove provisions of his contract or of law that was breached in order to invalidate or nullify his termination, and ordered the defendant to pay him one month’s salary in lieu of notice within 7 days.

From facts, the Claimant- Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu had submitted that he was employed on the 21st day of October 2013 as Marketing Manager and his employment was confirmed on the 30th day of July 2015 and was terminated on 29/11/2017.

He averred that Eko Electricity Distribution Company failed to comply with the terms and conditions of his employment and breached the principles of natural justice, equity and good conscience as the letter of termination did not disclose any charges against him or the fact of idleness on his part.

Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu stated that he is entitled to salaries, allowances and other entitlements from 29th November 2017 to date, as his termination was ineffectual in law and unacceptable, and urged the court to hold so.

In defense, the defendant- Eko Electricity Distribution Company averred that Chukwu’s employment was validly terminated after due consideration that his service was no longer required in accordance with the condition of service and the Company’s Handbook.

The company argued that Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu’s Statement of Facts was fundamentally defective and the Court is precluded from acting upon it as same is a nullity.

In opposition, Chukwu’s counsel maintained that the case is properly initiated by a complaint properly and duly signed by a Legal Practitioner and the fact that there was an error in the Statement of Facts can be amended or cured by the Court in the interest of justice.

The counsel further argued that Eko Electricity did not discharge the burden of proof regarding where it derived the power to terminate the employment of his client.

Delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Elizabeth Oji dismissed the objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court for lacking merit.

On the argument of Mr. Chuwku that Eko Electricity Distribution Company failed to discharge the burden of proof regarding where it derived its power to terminate his employment, the court held that it is the party who alleges that his contract has been breached that should tender it to show how it was breached.

Justice Oji ruled that Onwuaju-Kingsley Chukwu has failed to show which provision of his contract was breached, and has not made out a case of dismissal for misconduct, requiring Eko Electricity to prove the misconduct.

“The Claimant has also not stated the provision of the Constitution that was breached. In all, I find that the Claimant has failed to establish his entitlement to the first relief he seeks.” The Court ruled




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