The Presiding Judge, Lagos Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Maureen Esowe has ordered the CEO of Primax Prints to pay Mr. Edward Monday the sum of N770,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) outstanding gratuity, N127,500.00 (One Hundred and Twenty Seven Thousand Five Hundred Naira Only) annual leave allowances from 2016 to 2018 within 30 days.
The Court held that the action of the firm to willfully withhold the gratuity of the Claimant from 2018 till date is inconsiderate, and awarded the sum of N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) against the firm as general damages.
From facts, the Claimant- Mr. Edward Monday had claimed entitlement to the sum of N1,020,000.00 (One Million Twenty Thousand Naira only) unpaid gratuity/entitlements by the Defendant and asserted that his salary was reduced unjustly which led to his voluntary resignation on the 30th of July, 2018 with effect from 31st of August, 2018 but his letter of resignation was refused and all effort to get his gratuity/entitlements proved abortive.
In defense, the defendant stated that the reduction of Mr. Edward’s salary was as a result dwindling income of the Company and that his resignation was an afterthought as his employment was terminated on the 28th of August, 2018.
The defendant further counterclaimed for the sum of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira) being the loss of earnings by the Company and N450,000 cost of action.
In opposition, the claimant’s Counsel, P.T. Dabor, Esq posited that the fact that the defendant paid his client the sum of N250,000 during the pendency of the suit shows that it willfully withheld the Claimant’s entitlement, and urged the Court to dismiss the counterclaim with substantial cost.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Esowe held that resignation or retirement takes effect immediately same is communicated/ received by the employer, that a comparison of both the resignation and termination letters discloses that Mr. Edward’s employment was terminated before he tendered the letter of resignation.
“It is also evident under cross-examination that the Claimant was paid the sum of N250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) by the Defendant which leaves an outstanding sum of N770,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) being the remainder of his unpaid gratuity.
“It is in view of this that I find that the Claimant is entitled to the sum of N770,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) being the remainder of his unpaid gratuity. I so find and hold.”
The Court dismissed the counterclaim for lacking merit.
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