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EMPLOYMENT NOT GOVERNED BY STATUTE – EMPLOYEE CAN ONLY CLAIM DAMAGES

Dictum

In BENIN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY PLC. v. ESEALUKA (2013) LPELR-20159 (CA) held that: “…where the relationship is not governed by statute and there is infraction of the terms of employment and dismissal by the employer, such infraction is merely wrongful and not null and void. The employee can only claim damages for breach of contract and cannot claim arrears of salary and reinstatement. See Eze v. Spring Bank (2011) 12 SC Pt.1 Pg.173; Joseph Ifeta v. SPDC Nig. Ltd. (2006) 8 NWLR Pt.983 Pg.585.” Per OGUNWUMIJU, J.C.A. (Pp.32-33, Paras.B-F).

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BAD FAITH IS INCONSEQUENTIAL IN TERMINATION OF CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT

Both in his pleadings and evidence the plaintiff concentrated so much on his allegations of bad faith, hatred, malice etc; but all these are of no consequence in determining whether or not his contract of employment was lawfully terminated by the defendant, considering that no reason was given for the termination.

– Ogundare, JSC. Chukwumah v. SPDC (1993)

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WHAT IS A TRIANGULAR EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP

What is a triangular employment relationship? A triangular employment relationship is a situation where the employer arranges for an employee’s placement or assignment with a third party.

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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NO EMPLOYMENT CAN BE INFERRED WITHOUT A LETTER OF EMPLOYMENT PRODUCED

In the case of Organ and Ors. v. Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., and Anor (2013) LPELR – 20942 (SC), the Supreme Court emphatically held as follows: “The letter of employment is the bedrock on which any of the appellants can lay claim to being employees of the respondent and without the production of such a document, no employment can be inferred. The Employees’ Handbook issued by 1st Respondent is not a substitute for the letter of employment”.

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CONTRACT OF STATUTORY EMPLOYMENT – CANNOT BE REMOVED EASILY

It is to be observed that there is evidence before the court that the plaintiffs appointments were renewed for a three year second term on December 16, 2002 and was to last till 15th December, 2005. The only condition under which they could vacate office before that date is either if they resign their appointment or they are removed from office in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Service Commission Law, 2000.

– Abdullahi JCA. Ekiti v. Ojo (2005)

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WHERE OFFICER HOLDS HIS OFFICE “AT PLEASURE”

Where an officer holds his office “at pleasure,” like was the case in Brown v. Dagenham Urban District Council (1929) 1 K.B. 737 at p.742 he can be dismissed at will in complete disregard of any purported contract whether verbal, or written or even under seal, because such contract will be incompatible with his status and therefore destitute of legal value. Thus Servants of the Crown, civil as well as military, except in special cases, where it is otherwise provided by law, hold their office only during the pleasure of the Crown and can be dismissed at any time in spite of a contract for a period of Service:- Dunn v. Reginam (1896)1 Q.B. 116. In fact the employing authority will lack the power, the vires to “enter into a contract” inconsistent with the wording of the Statute which gave it power in the public interest to remove the Servant at its pleasure:- Nicholson v. Whitstable Urban District Council (1925) 89 J. P. Newsp 480 at p.508. An officer holding his office at pleasure has also no right to be heard before he is removed because there need not be anything against him to warrant his removal. If there is nothing against him, no reason need be given for there is nothing to defend since he held his office durante bene placito: See Reg v. Dartington School Governors (1844) 6 Q.B.682.

— A. Oputa, JSC. Olaniyan & Ors. v. University of Lagos (1985) – SC.53/1985

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COURT WILL NOT IMPOSE EMPLOYEE ON EMPLOYER

Ordinarily and consistent with the common law principle, the Court will not impose an employee on an employer.

– Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Chukwumah v. SPDC (1993)

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