The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Friday affirmed the termination of employment of two Protea Hotel workers, as lawful.
The claimants, Michael Benson and Ede Felix approached the court seeking a declaration that due process was not followed in the termination of their employment.
The claimants equally wanted a declaration by the court that the termination of their employment was illegal and wrong.
Benson and Felix also sought for an order directing the defendant to pay the sum of N5 million to each of them as damages.
The duo finally asked for an order to direct the defendant to pay all their allowances from when their employment was terminated till date in Jan. 2016 and Dec. 2015 respectively.
Justice Rakiya Haastrup, while delivering judgment, gave two issues to be determined as formulated by counsel as:
“Whether the termination of the claimants’ employment by the defendant was illegal and unlawful.
“Whether the claimants have proved their case to be entitled to the reliefs sought against the defendant”, Haastrup said.
The judge said the claimants failed to make reference and tender their terms and conditions of employment before the court was fatal to their case.
She said the defendant tendered the aforementioned documents and the claimants did not deny knowledge of it during cross-examination.
Haastrup also said, “position of the law is clear that evidence which could be and is not produced would if produced be unfavourable to the person who withholds it”.
The judge said the defendant satisfied the terms and conditions as contained in the contract of employment of the claimants which stipulated salary in lieu of notice of termination.
She said since the defendant paid the claimants their terminal benefits which was salaries in lieu of notice and service charge, the defendant have satisfied the provisions as contained in the contract agreements of the parties.
Haastrup said the defendant was not in breach of the terms, therefore the termination of employment of the claimants cannot be said to be unlawful and illegal.
Bart Ogar, the claimants’ counsel had in his submission said due process was not followed as the defendant breached the terms of agreement.
The defence counsel, Ukeje Gabriel on his part said the 1st claimant, Benson employment was terminated on Jan. 2, 2016 on ground of dishonesty was paid all his entitlements.
Gabriel also said before the 2nd claimant, Felix employment was terminated on Dec. 29, 2015, for disobedience and gross insubordination.
The counsel said Felix participated in a disciplinary hearing, which amounted to due process and he was equally paid his terminal benefits.