Court orders firm to return former employee’s N3.1m illegal deductions
National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos has ordered Nigerian Breweries Plc to pay its former employee, Mr. Bala Yesufu, the sum of N3, 199,029 wrongfully deducted from his entitlements when he took an early retirement from the organisation.
Justice Nelson Ogbuanya made the order, while delivering judgment on the suit filed by Yesufu against his former employers, claiming that the sum of N5, 331,715 was wrongfully deducted from him on the basis of inadequate notice prior to his retirement.
The claimant had given one-month notice for his retirement, which was two months short from the only document that noted the duration of time needed for implementation of exit from the company.
Consequently, he was to have two months worth of salary deducted, however, five months salary was deducted. The court therefore ordered that three months salary be returned to him.
“Accordingly, in line with the prescription of the S.14 NICN Act 2016, which enjoins the court to determine and award appropriate remedy for a party in deserving circumstance, I hereby award the sum of N3, 199,029, being the three months’ salary wrongly deducted from the entitlement of the claimant while exiting the services of the defendant in June 2013. I so hold,” the judge declared.
The judge, having found no comprehensive policy document by the company on early retirement, asked that it be included in the Employment Relations Document.
His words: “Accordingly, I take this opportunity to direct the defendant to take immediate steps to include and incorporate in the defendant’s HR Policy and Employee Handbook the entitlement conditions and packages for Early Retirement as well as the Exit Notice Period as expressed in the Memo dated 20th October 2014, Ref. ERM. 1222/2285 issued by the Head, Employee Relations.”
The court also ordered the defendant to pay the said amount within a month of the judgment, failure to which 10 per cent increase would be added yearly until the sum is paid.