Importance of a Letter of Appointment; Whether it Is Necessary to Plead Contract of Employment When Bringing an Action for Wrongful Dismissal

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CASE TITLE: AJAGU v. JAMB (2022) LPELR-58537(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 5TH AUGUST, 2022

PRACTICE AREA: LABOUR LAW

LEAD JUDGMENT: STEPHEN JONAH ADAH, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on wrongful dismissal of employment.

FACTS

This is an appeal against the Judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, delivered on 13th March 2018, in Suit No: NIC/ABJ/349/2016.

The appellant was an employee of the respondent until he was sacked by the respondent on the 11th day of July 2016. The appellant was recruited into service on 19th day of June 2000, as an Administrative Officer II (a Senior Officer). His employment was confirmed after the probationary period. He was severally promoted until he rose to the rank of Assistant Director (Conraiss 13) before he was dismissed by the respondent on an allegation of serious misconduct.

The Appellant, as Claimant instituted the action at the trial Court via a general Form of Complain and claimed against the respondent as a defendant in an action bordering on a claim for wrongful dismissal and seeking amongst others the relief of reinstatement. Appellant averred that his employment was regulated by his Employment Letter dated 19th June 2000 and the Public Service Rules, 2009, Chapter 16, Section 5, Paragraph 160501 and further contended that the power to dismiss him was vested in the Board of the respondent and not in the respondent.

The trial Court, after hearing the case of the parties, dismissed the claim of the appellant and held that the respondent followed the required procedure in the dismissal of the appellant from service.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the appellant appealed.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court considered the following issues in the determination of the appeal;

1. Whether from the pleadings and evidence before the trial Court, the learned trial judge was correct in holding that the claimant failed to plead and prove the terms and conditions of his employment with the Defendant as to deprive the claimant of the reliefs sought;

2. Whether the dismissal of the claimant ought not to be set aside and the claimant reinstated to his employment with Defendant for the failure of Defendant to comply with the terms and conditions governing the determination of the claimant’s employment.

DECISION/HELD

The appeal was dismissed for lacking in merit.

RATIOS:

  • LABOUR LAW – LETTER OF APPOINTMENT: Importance of a letter of appointment
  • LABOUR LAW – WRONGFUL DISMISSAL OF AN EMPLOYEE: Whether it is necessary to plead contract of employment when bringing an action for wrongful dismissal 
  • ACTION – PLEADINGS: Whether parties and the court are bound by their pleadings

lawpavilion • September 22, 2022


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