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CONTRACT OF SERVICE COMES TO AN END WHERE EMPLOYEE ACCEPTS REPUDIATION

Dictum

The contract of service comes to an end after the unilateral repudiation only if the employee accepts the repudiation expressly or by implication. – See Gunton v. Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council (1981) AC. at p. 464 and Decro-Wall International S.A. v. Practitioners in Marketing Ltd. (1971) 1 WLR. at pp. 369-370 per Salmon L. J.

— A.G. Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Olaniyan & Ors. v. University of Lagos (1985) – SC.53/1985

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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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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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NATURE OF A STATUTORY EMPLOYMENT – CONDITIONS

Statutory employment has been explained to mean an employment in which the procedure for employment and discipline are governed by statute. See Nigeria Institute of International Affairs v Mrs. T.O. Ayanfalu (2007) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1018) p. 246. In addition to the above, it is the position of the law that it is not all persons employed by a statutory body or government agency that is in a statutory flavored employment. Uwa JCA, explained this in Federal Medical Centre, Ido-Ekiti & Ors. v Isaac Olukayode Olajide (2011) LPELR-4150 (CA), when he held thus: “In agreement with the submissions of learned counsel to the 1st set of appellants to the effect that for an employment to be held to have statutory flavour the following conditions must be met: 1) The employer must be a body set up by statute. 2) The establishing statute must make express provisions regulating the employment of the staff of the category of the employee concerned. In a plethora of legal authorities in recent times, the Apex Court has given a clear distinction between employment with statutory flavour and other employment. In employments covered by statute, procedures for employment and discipline (including dismissal) of an employee are clearly spelt out, whereas any other employment outside the statute is governed by terms under which parties agreed to be master and servant.”

— Adewemimo J. Afariogun v FUTA (2020) – NICN/AK/41/2017

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SCOPE OF EMPLOYER’S DUTY TO EMPLOYEE INCLUDES TAKING REASONABLE CARE

The law is of common that the scope of an employer’s duty to its employee to take reasonable care for the safety of his workman and other employee in the course of their employment, this duty extends in particular to the safety of place of work, the plant and machinery and the method and conduct of work. Duty of care as an act or omission, has its origin on the concept of foreseeability as decided in the old case of Heaven v. Pencher (1983) 11 QBD 503 at 509 where Bret M.R. said “Whenever one person is by circumstance placed in such a position with regard to another, that everyone of ordinary sense who did think would at once recognise that if he did not use ordinary care and skill in his own conduct with regard to the circumstances he would cause danger, injury to the person or property of the other, a duty arises to use ordinary care skill and avoid such danger.”

— O. Oyewumi, J. Aseidu v Japaul (2019) – NICN/AK/01/2016

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REMOVING SERVANT REGULATED BY STATUTE, MUST GIVE ETERNAL JUSTICE

When the employing authority wants to remove its servant on grounds permitted by Statute, then as Lord Campbell, C. J., observed in Exparte Ramshay (1852) 18 Q.B. 173 at p.190 “the principles of eternal justice” will dictate that the servant cannot be lawfully dismissed without first telling him what is alleged against him and hearing his defence or explanation. Even where the servant had, aliunde, personal knowledge of the offence or reason for his removal that was held to be no substitute for hearing the officer’s explanation:- Reg v. Smith (1844) 5 Q.B. 614.

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

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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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