The National Industrial Court, Abuja on Monday 20th January 2020 affirmed the dismissal of a Principal System Analyst, Mrs. Rashidat Kolawole over gross misconduct of manipulation and falsification of results and a Principal Technologist, Mr Anthony Corsy on the grounds of cult membership and sexual harassment.
Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi while presiding over Mrs Kolawole’s case held that the first issue was whether the suit was competent and the second issue was whether the claimant through legal evidence established her case to entitle her to the reliefs sought.
She ruled against the argument of the defense that the suit was not competent. The defendant had averred that the claimant did not follow laid down procedure as stipulated by rules that governed her employment of exploring internal avenues of settling grievances before seeking redress in court.
Justice Oyewumi said no modalities were clearly stated in the Conditions of Service on how an employee can seek redress apart from the 21 days given for any employee to appeal any decision taken by the employer. The judge also stated that the said Conditions of Service document failed to provide outlets where employees can seek redress against any grievances.
Oyewumi also discountenanced the claimant’s counsel's submission that his client needed to have been tried by a competent court before her dismissal. She said it was no longer law that an employee must be tried by a court before they can be dismissed so long as laid down guidelines governing the dismissal were not breached.
The Judge said in this case, the KWASU Act and Administrative Manual of Sanctions and Disciplinary Procedures were followed.
In addition, she said the claimant was issued a query and she responded by denying the allegation leveled against her.
She therefore said, "I find and hold that the dismissal was lawful”.
Similarly, in the case filed by Mr Anthony Corsy, Justice Oyejoju Oyewumi held that the court adopted two issues in other to determine the matter.
Oyewumi held that the first issue was whether the suit was competent and the second issue was whether the claimant through legal evidence established his case to entitle him to reliefs sought.
The Judge discountenanced the argument of the defense that the suit was not competent.
She however dismissed the suit in its entirety for lacking merit, stating that the failure of the claimant to server a pre-action notice on the defendant before instituting the suit was detrimental to his case.
A pre-action notice is a letter a prospective claimant is mandated by law to serve a defendant, especially an origination of the intention to seek redress concerning grievances in court.
Oyewumi, in addition, said the argument of the claimant that in his letter of appeal to the defendant a paragraph stated “I will seek further redress on this” did not suffice as pre-action notice.
She said the sentence was ambiguous and could mean anything as “seeking redress” could be seeking it anywhere.
The Judge therefore said the claimant’s case lacked merit, granted none of the reliefs sought, and dismissed the suit in its entirety.