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  • 2003-04-28
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Evans Brothers (Nig.) Publishers vs. Falaiye

EVANS BROTHERS (NIG.) PUBLISHERS LTD.

V

A. S. FALAIYE

COURT OF APPEAL

( IBADAN DIVISION )

S. AKINOLA AKINTAN, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

MORONKEJI OMOTAYO ONALAJA, JCA

FRANCIS FEDODE TABAI, JCA

CA/I/216/2000

TUESDAY, 25TH JUNE, 2002

ACTION - Wrongful termination of employment - Action brought for reinstatement - When court can grant

DAMAGES - Wrongful termination of employment - Quantum of damages payable to employee - How calculated

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of employment - Termination thereof -  Right of an employer to effect - When and how can be done

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of employment - Unlawful termination -  Damages for - Measure of damages

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of service - Bindingness of between employer and employee

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of service - Contract with statutory flavour - What amounts to - Legal incidence of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Contract of service - Status of where termination of employment is challenged - Duty of court in respect of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Duty on court not to impose an employee on an unwilling employer - Scope of the principle

MASTER AND SERVANT - Employee whose employment does not have statutory flavour - When terminated - Whether can be reinstated

MASTER AND SERVANT - Employment with statutory flavour - What amounts to

MASTER AND SERVANT  Termination of employee’s appointment Whether proper or unlawful - Test of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Termination of employment - Power of employer to terminate employment - Whether there is any restriction thereto

MASTER AND SERVANT - Termination of employment - Whether there is duty on employer to disclose reasons for terminating employment Remedy available to employee

MASTER AND SERVANT - Wrongful termination of employment - Damages recoverable - Anticipatory damages - Propriety of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Wrongful termination of employment - Remedy open to employee - Whether includes order of reinstatement

MASTER AND SERVANT - Wrongful termination of employment - When it arises

Issues:

1.            Whether by virtue of the respondent’s employment being pensionable, the appellant was contractually bound to retain the respondent in its employment until he attains the retirement age of 60 years.

2.            Whether by issuing the letter of termination, the appellant validly and effectively terminated the respondent’s employment.

3.            If the answer to (2) is in the negative, whether the court ought to have awarded the reliefs claimed by the plaintiff/appellant.

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent sued the defendant/appellant at the High court of Oyo State for a declaration amongst others that the purported termination of his appointment and the procedures adopted by the defendant were unlawful, invalid, null and void.

The plaintiff alleged that he was appointed as a Senior Editor on a

salary of N9,200 per annum in group 7 of the company’s salary structure. Apart from his basic salary, he was entitled to several other allowances. Plaintiff contended that he performed his duties with the company efficiently as a result of which he got rapid promotions. He was promoted to the position of Deputy General Manager (Publishing) on basic salary Grade 10 and later to Controller of Publishing Services.

While the plaintiff was on his annual vacation leave, he received a letter terminating his appointment which termination was to take effect within four (4) days of the notice of the termination.

At the end of trial, the learned trial Judge held inter alia, that the termination of the plaintiff’s appointment was wrongful and therefore invalid. He awarded a grand total of N5,320,557.00 as damages to the plaintiff which sum included plaintiff’s salary per annum for twenty-one (21)  years, being the number of years plaintiff would have remained in defendant’s employment, if his employment had not been terminated.

The defendant was dissatisfied with the judgment and therefore appealed.