Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji of the National Industrial Court, Lagos Judicial Division has declared the employment termination of Mr. Olowoselu Adeola as wrongful, ordered Stallionaire Shipping to pay Adeola the sum of NGN228, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand Naira) as salary arrears and in lieu of notice from May 2015 to July 2015 within 30 days.
The Court held that punitive actions against Adeola in the absence of proof of misconduct were done contrary to the company Staff Handbook and fair hearing.
From facts, the Claimant’s- Mr. Olowoselu Adeola had submitted that he was employed in 2013 and his appointment was confirmed on the 5th of January 2014, that In March 2015, he was placed on suspension and his employment was summarily and unlawfully terminated on the 30th of June 2015 without due process that the termination letter does not refer to any factual event or circumstance that shows breach of contract of employment.
The Claimant stated that the reason(s) relied on by the firm to terminate his employment was not his fault, further stated that he was not paid salary for the period he was under suspension and was not paid the salary in lieu of notice of termination of his employment urged the Court to grant the relief sought.
In defence, the firm maintained that Adeola’s employment was lawfully terminated after its disciplinary committee found him liable for misconduct, that the Claimant has no outstanding salary or allowance with them as all monies due to him were paid as and when due.
The learned defence counsel Olanrewaju Falola Esq submitted that the Claimant is not entitled to the said sum for the period he rendered no service to the Company that the termination is valid.
In opposition, Mr. Adeola also alleged that on his last assignment to outside the country while in the employment of the firm, he incurred several expenses for which he was never reimbursed before his employment was terminated.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Elizabeth Oji held that Adeola was not given a fair hearing to defend himself before he was terminated of his employment.
“Again, the act committed as stated in exhibit C5 is not one of those listed in exhibit C4 relied on by the Defendant. I find that the Defendant’s act of terminating the employment of the Claimant was wrongful in not following the Defendant’s Handbook.
“Suspension either pending enquiry or as a punishment is not termination. The letter of suspension is not before the Court, nor is there proof of the enquiry which culminated in the termination of the Claimant.
“In the absence of these, and having found that the termination was wrongful, the employment continued during the suspension, thus making the Claimant entitled to his pay for the period of the suspension.
Lastly, on the claim for other monetary sums, the court dismissed the requests for lack of proof.