[Wrongful Employment Termination] Industrial Court orders firm to pay former Staff 2-yrs Salary as Compensation within 30 days
The Hon. President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, Ph.D has declared the employment termination of one Sadiq Isiaku by Arab Contractors Ltd as wrongful; ordered the firm to pay Sadiq Isiaku the sum of Two Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Naira, Forty-Four Kobo (N281,359.44) only as compensation for wrongful termination, and breach of contract within 30 days.
The Court held that the defendant did not justify the reason of redundancy given as the basis for terminating the employment of Sadiq Isiaku and that made the termination wrongful.
From facts, the claimant- Sadiq Isiaku had submitted that he had a serious accident in the course of his duty, which the firm acknowledged and took responsibility for by referring him to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, admitted for some time in the hospital before he was discharged and returned to work after the partial treatment.
He submitted further that after 8 years he made a request to the defendant for the lengthening of his left lower limb as earlier recommended by the hospital. Instead, he was taken to another hospital.
Then without any prior notice, the company issued him a sack letter on 21 September 2013 and was told that sequel to the termination of his appointment, he would be paid off with a terminal benefit of N97,000.00 only, which he refused to accept till date.
In defense, the defendant- Arab Contractors Ltd maintained that it heard about the ugly incident of the claimant’s motorbike accident on the evening of Saturday, February 5, 2005, in faraway Suleja, Niger State, where the claimant lives, having closed from work.
In its show of employers’ responsiveness and magnanimity, Sadiq was evacuated from a less equipped hospital to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, and took responsibility for all his treatment, medication, and hospitalization for nine (9) months (February 6 – November 2005).
To the defendant, Sadiq Isiaku duly received his compensation and failed to discharge the evidentiary burden placed on him to show that the firm action was negligent or breached her duty of care, urged the Court to dismiss the case.
In opposition, the claimant’s counsel averred that the Labour Act made it mandatory that the trade union must be informed of the extent of the redundancy, and the principles of last in first out must be observed and no indication that the defendant herein complied with the provisions of the Labour Act in declaring his client redundant, urged the Court to hold that his client is entitled to damages for injury suffered during the course of the employment with the defendant and other reliefs sought.
Delivering the judgment, the Hon. President of the Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip held that the duty of the claimant complaining of wrongful or unlawful termination is to present his conditions of service and state how the conditions of service were flouted in the said termination.
Justice Kanyip further declared the argument of Sadiq Isiaku that the defendant did not satisfy the requirements of the Labour Act in terminating his employment as misplaced, that nothing in the Sadiq Isiaku’s pleadings to show that he actually belongs to a trade union; nor who the workers’ representative is that the defendant ought to have informed the reasons for declaring him redundant.
However, the Court held that the firm did not justify the fact of redundancy being a product of re-organization, as the reason for which the claimant’s employment was terminated.
Justice Kanyip awarded two years’ salary in favour of Sadiq Isiaku in the sum of N281,359.44 as compensation for wrongful termination, and breach of contract and dismissed other claims for lacking merit.
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