The National Industrial Court has ordered the management of Covenant University, Ota to pay its former staff member, Adekunle Oyeyemi the sum of N10.3 million as general damages, terminal benefit, and salary.
Covenant University is a private university affiliated with Living Faith Church Worldwide, founded by Bishop David Oyedepo.
While delivering the judgement on Thursday, Justice Ayodele Obaseki-Osaghae declared that the termination of the claimant’s employment was illegal and in breach of the contract of his employment.
According to a NAN report, the court also ordered the payment of N8.2 million being the equivalent of his 24 months salary as general damages.
The judge ordered the school to pay a sum of N1.7 million as terminal benefits and N344, 635 being salary in lieu of notice, to be paid within 30 days.
The judge held that the university's unilateral review of the claimant’s employment conversion to Senior Lecturer was wrongful
The court stated that the action was unsolicited and designed to make the workplace intolerable for him and force him to leave.
Obaseki-Osaghae stated that there was no wrongdoing established before the court that necessitated the termination of the claimant’s appointment with immediate effect.
“The words with ‘immediate effect’ have the effect of stigmatisation.
“The termination of the claimant’s employment is wrongful and not in accordance with international best practices,” the judge ruled.
The claimant submitted that he was employed as a full-time Director of the University’s Counselling Centre.
He held the position between October 1, 2007 and November 15, 2016, when his appointment was terminated.
According to him, the termination was not based on any misconduct.
In addition, he stated that he sent an internal memo to the Secretary of the University Board to state his position against the Board’s resolution on the issue of tenure of Principal Officers and Directors.
He further said that he got a reply letter informing him that his tenure as the Director of the Centre had come to an end and he was being redeployed to the Department of Psychology as a Senior Lecturer, which was against his terms of employment.
The claimant’s counsel, Funmi Falana, submitted that the termination of her client’s employment was done contrary to the institution’s law.
She, therefore, sought an order of reinstatement amongst other reliefs.
The defendant, on its part, submitted that the claimant was invited to a roundtable discussion when his service was no longer required in its counselling centre.
The University also stated that when the claimant was informed of its decision to transfer him as a Senior Lecturer on contract, he consented to the arrangement.
The University stated that it decided to retain the claimant as a Senior Lecturer on contract as a kind gesture as he was over 60 years old at the time and was due for retirement.