By Funmilayo Olagunju
There are broadly two classification of employment;
1. Master and servant relationship (contract of service)
2. HiStatutory Employment (employment with statutory flavour)
Employment is said to have statutory flavor when the terms of employment of that staff is governed by the statute creating that organization. Any infraction of the terms of employment and discipline as guaranteed by the statute is bound to be declared null and void. The order of reinstatement is an available remedy notwithstanding the illegal dismissal.
Where the contractual 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 – not null and void. The employee can only claim damages for breach of contract.
See the case of BENIN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION CO. PLC v. ESEALUKA
The apex Court in the case of IDUFUEKO v. PFIZER PRODUCTS LTD & ANOR
(2014) LPELR-22999(SC) identifies the remedy available to an employee in wrongful termination of contract of service:
“The position of the law is that where the termination of a contract of service was found to have been wrongful, the measure of damages that the plaintiff could be entitled to would be the salaries for the length of time during which notice of the termination would have been given in accordance with the contract of employment. He would, in addition, be paid other legitimate entitlements due to him at the time his employment was terminated”
An Employee that was dismissed for grave misconduct might not succeed in proving wrongful dismissal.
The onus of proving that dismissal is wrongful is on the Employee who alleges wrongful dismissal;
“It is trite law, that when an employee complains of unlawful termination of employment by his employer, he has the onus to prove the unlawful termination of the said employment by: (a) Placing before the Court the terms and conditions of the contract of Employment, and (b) Proving in what manner the said terms were breached by the employee”
See OGUMKA v. CAC
“The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master”
I Corinthians 4:2 (GNT).
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