Drama of a SUSPENDED EMPLOYEE


(Barrister Ojulari just finished a meeting with his staffs in the conference room of his Chambers, they are all dinking soft drinks when a man enters the Chambers with Mr. Mellow.)

MR. MELLOW: Good afternoon Mr. Lawyer.

BARR. OJULARI: Good afternoon, Professor Alhaji!

(The trio of Barr. Ojulari, Mr. Mellow and the other man enter and sit inside Barr. Ojulari’s Office)

MR. MELLOW: I am here with one of my brothers, he needs your help

(Barr. Ojulari receives a phone call)

********************************************
BARR. OJULARI: (to the caller at the other end) Hello! Yes, I know it is you. Do not dare to do that, you have been subpoenaed as a witness to give a testimony in Court, you do not have a right to ignore that call unless you have prepared to go to prison [1].

The Caller: Ah! What should I do now? Am I going to give this testimony against my boss? What if he sacks me after then?

BARR. OJULARI: Come and say whatever you know in Court, your boss cannot sack you because you give testimony in Court as a witness, if he does that, he will go to prison! [2].

The Caller: Okay, if that is the case, I will come.

BARR. OJULARI: Okay, thanks! See you in Court!
*******************************************

(BARR. OJULARI hangs up the call, and continue his conversation with those that are in front of him)

MR. MELLOW: Hey! The law! So a person can still go to prison if he sacks his Employee because he testified against him in Court?

BARR. OJULARI: Testimony is testimony, and a witness is a witness. Dismissing a person from work because he gives testimony in Court is CONTEMPT EX FACIE CURIAE

MR. MELLOW: Hmmm! Anyways, I’m not here today to learn the law, I’m here to solicit for employment for this brother of mine (he points to the man that came inside the Chambers with him) he is a Mechanical Engineer.

BARR. OJULARI: (to the man) Really, Mr Man, what’s happening? Are you an Engineer for real?

THE MAN: Yes Sir! I was working for a Company before I was suspended from work over three years ago. I want to seek for another job since my former company has not called me back for resumption!

MR. MELLOW: Lawyer please, help us to recommend him to one of your big Clients who is an Engineer.

BARR. OJULARI: Mr. Man Are you being paid your Salary as you are on Suspension?

THE MAN: No, since I’m on suspension, I have not been given any amount of money as my salary till now.

MR. MELLOW: He was suspended lawyer, no boss will pay the salary of a suspended worker!

BARR. OJULARI: (smiles) They must pay it. This man is entitled to all his salary arrears during the period of suspension, and it must be paid to him [3].

MR. MELLOW: Heyyyy! Lawyer! Wait! I’m confused, do you mean that he still have the right to claim all his salary arrears and entitlements for the period of years that he is still on suspension?

BARR. OJULARI: The law says so!

(Both Mr. Mellow and the Man look at each other surprisingly)

MR. MELLOW: But he did not work during that period of time, why will he be entitled to collect salary?

BARR. OJULARI: What you don’t know is that, “suspension is neither termination of contract of employment nor a dismissal of the employee” [4]. He is still under employment during the time of suspension.

MR. MELLOW: I’ve never heard about this before now.

BARR. OJULARI: Well! Now you do. For an Employer not to pay his employee during suspension, it must have been stated in the terms and conditions of employment or letter of suspension given to the Employee that he will not be during the period of suspension [5].

MR. MELLOW: (to the man) were you given any kind of notice like this?

THE MAN; No!

BARR. OJULARI: What are we now contending? Mr Man, you have a right to claim your salary arrears during the period of suspension. How much is your Salary?

THE MAN: After monthly deductions have been made, it always remain #272,500.

MR. MELLOW: Lawyer, this man don’t have the gut to pursue anything, it is a new employment that he wants, he doesn’t want to claim anything.

BARR. OJULARI: Okay! No problem. But after this case is done successfully, he can regain his #9,810,000, the total sum of his salary arrears for the period of last three years[6]. But if he decides to sleep on his right, that goes to no issue.

THE MAN: Ah! So there is as much as that to gain?

BARR. OJULARI: Huh! Suspension is an interference to your professional service, because that company has suspended you, it has negatively affected your career growth and promotion, yes or no?

THE MAN: Ah! Yes o!

BARR. OJULARI: You see, What if I tell you that you can claim up to #50,000,000 compensation as damages for this unlawful interference? [7].

THE MAN: That would be awesome!

BARR. OJULARI: We will just have to specifically plead and strictly prove it by providing cogent evidence, though the discretion to either grant it or not lies on the Court.[8]

MR. MELLOW: So, this man has a good case!

BARR. OJULARI: Yes, his case is so good to the extent that, after the Court has awarded all the sum of money we plead, the Court will still grant an order of not less than 10% interest per annum on the JUDGMENT SUM till that Company pay the money completely [9].

MR. MELLOW: You mean that 10% interest will be added to it every year till the Company finishes paying its Debt?

BARR. OJULARI: Yes, you are brilliant. Are you going to Court or not?

MR. MELLOW: We are going to Court. In fact, we must go to Court.

BARR. OJULARI: OK, because of the condition of this man, I will do this case PRO BONO, so, you don’t have to for my professional service.

(The man jumps up out of joy, he hugs Mr. Mellow and Barr. Ojulari.)

FOOTNOTES:

SUBPOENAED : to order someone to go to a law court to answer questions

CONTEMPT EX FACIE CURIAE : Showing disobedience or disrespect to the authority of the Court, outside the Court.

ARREAR: money that is owed and should have been paid earlier.

PRO BONO : Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.



REFERENCE(S)

[1] Section 133 (2)of the Criminal Code Act

[2] Section 133 (7) of the Criminal Code Act

[3] Olafimihan v. Nova Lay- Tech Nig Ltd (1998) 4 NWLR (PT 547) 608

[4] Longe v. FBN PLC (2010) 2 CLRN 21

[5] Bamisile v. NJC & ORS (2012) LPELR 8381 (CA)

[6]. Olafimihan v. Nova Lay- Tech Nig Ltd (Supra); See also, Globe Motors Holdings (NIG) LTD v Oyewole (2022) LPELR-56856(CA).

[7] Kayode Omosehin “Calculating Compensation for Suspension of Employee” retrieved on https://legalnaija.com/calculating-compensation-for-suspension/02900951941647681314/ accessed on 22nd September, 2022

[8] ibid.

[9] Order 47, Rule 7 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2017



ABDULRAUF Abdullahi Adebayo, is a Law student, a Certified Teacher and a Writer. He can be reached via the following platforms;

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