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MOTIVE IRRELEVANT IN EMPLOYMENT DISMISSAL

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The master can relieve the employee of his job with or without a reason. Motive for so doing is not relevant, see Geidam v. NEPA (2001) 2 NWLR (Pt. 696) 45. Be that as it may, if the determination is in breach of a term of the contract of employment, the court cannot, by its order, compel the employer to keep in its employment an employee whose service it no longer desires or requires. See Opuo v. NNPC (2000) 14 NWLR (Pt. 734) 552.

– NGWUTA, JCA. Osumah v. EBS (2004)

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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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WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT – WHAT WOULD HAVE EARNED IN THE PERIOD

In NITEL Plc. v. Akwa (2006) 2 NWLR (Pt.964)391 held that: “The law is settled, that where an employee’s appointment is terminated wrongfully or otherwise all he is entitled to is what he would have earned over the period of notice required to lawfully terminate this employment. The amount he is entitled to in his case is one month salary in lieu of notice and no more. See International Drilling Co. (Nig.) Ltd. v. Ajijala (1976) 2 SC 115; Akunforile v. Mobil (1969) NCLR 253; WNDC v. Abimbola (1966) 1 All NLR 159; Nigerian Produce Marketing Board v. Adewunmi (supra).” Per SANUSI, J.C.A (P. 42, paras. A-D).

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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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REPUDIATION BY ONE PARTY DOES NOT TERMINATE THE CONTRACT EXCEPT WHERE ACCEPTED

In Heyman v. Darwins Ltd. (1949) AC. 356, 361 Viscount Simon L.C. said, “But repudiation by one party standing alone does not terminate the contract. It takes two to end it, by repudiation on the one side, and acceptance of the repudiation on the other.” The proposition is founded on the elementary principles of the formation and discharge of contractual obligations. Where there is a unilateral repudiation of a contract, this is treated as an officer by the guilty part to the innocent party of the termination of the contract. It is the acceptance of the officer by the innocent party which acts as a discharge of the contract. – See Hochster H v. De La Tour (1853) 2 F& B. 678; Johnstone v. Milling (1886) 16 QBD 460. It is then open to the innocent party to sue only for damages since by his acceptance of the repudiation the contract comes to an end. Hence where the innocent party refuses to accept the repudiation the contract remains in existence.

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EMPLOYMENT OF STATUTORY FLAVOUR – CREATION OF STATUTE

It is settled law that the character of an appointment is determined by the legal character of the contract of employment. Where the contract of appointment is determinable by the agreement of the parties, there is no question of the contract having a statutory flavour. It is immaterial that the other contracting party is a creation of a statute.

– Muhammad JCA. Osumah v. EBS (2004)

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EMPLOYMENT OF STATUTORY FLAVOUR CAN BE DETERMINED BY THE STATUTE ONLY

NEPA v. Ango it was held as follows:- “An employee of an employer with statutory flavour has no right to terminate his appointment at will because the employee does not hold the appointment at the pleasure of such an employer. To determine the appointment, the employer has a duty to comply with the conditions precedent laid down in the conditions of appointment failing which such termination will be held to be ineffectual and void.”

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