Overview Of Labour Regulation On Termination Of Employment In Nigeria – Employment and HR

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has over the years affirmed the common law principle that an employer in private employment contracts has the right to hire and fire an employee and is not required to provide a reason to justify such dismissal. This has been stated in a large number of Supreme Court rulings. in the
FACUADE OF VOAUTH (1993) 5 NWLR (PT.291) 47, The Supreme Court ruled that:

“I think the court was right. But in principle, a captain can terminate the employment contract with his servant at any time and without giving a reason, provided that the terms of the service contract between them are respected.The motive that led an employer to lawfully terminate the employment of a servant is usually not a relevant factor, and the court will have nothing to do with such a motive, but only allow the service contract between the parties to take effect, see Taiwo v Kingsway Stores Ltd (1950) NLR 122; Nwangwu v. Nzekwu (1957) SCNLR 61; (1957) 2 FSC 36; Amodu v. Amode & Anor (1990) 5 NWLR (Pt.150) 356). “

Also in



(1987) All NLR

471, the Supreme Court has ruled, among other things, that a captain can terminate the contract with the servant in an ordinary case of an employer and servant relationship at any time with or without giving reasons, provided that the termination corresponds to the terms of the contract. An employer always has the right, according to the law, to terminate the applicant’s employment relationship as soon as the conditions in the working conditions are met.

Recently, however, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) appears to be deviating from the old Supreme Court position. The NICN in the case of
dismantled the previous legal principle that an employer can terminate an employee for a valid reason or for no reason. The regional labor court decided in this case as follows:

“From the above I state that it is now unfair for an employer to terminate the employment relationship of his employee without giving reasons or legitimate reasons related to the performance of the employment contract. I also believe that the defendant The reason given for the determination of the employment of the plaintiff in the present case, namely “service was no longer necessary”, is not validly related to the ability or exercise of the activity of the plaintiff at the defendant In the industrial relations of the 21st century it is no longer common for an employer to terminate his employees without giving reasons, even in a private employment relationship. “

Given the judicial precedent principle where a court in Nigeria is bound by the decision of a higher court, this is quite a bold move by the NICN. In support of his decision in

“However, the Termination Convention of 1982 (No. 158) and Recommendation No. 166 regulate termination of employment at the initiative of the employer. Article 4 of that Convention requires that an employee’s employment relationship not be terminated unless There is a valid reason for such termination in connection with his or her capacity or conduct or the operational needs of the company, branch or service. The Committee of Experts has frequently pointed out in its opinions that the termination of the employment relationship is for a valid reason Is the cornerstone of the Convention’s provisions. This is the current global position on labor relations. It is the current International Labor Standard and Best Practice. Although this Convention has not been ratified by Nigeria, but has been since Dec. March 2011, when the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Third Amendment) Act, 2010 came into effect, this court has the powers under the Constitution On the basis of Section 254C (1) (f) and (h) of the amended Constitution, Applying International Best Practice and International Labor Standard to such matters, this Court can now refrain from the harsh and rigid stance of common law allowing an employer to terminate an employee for bad or no reason “

It is banal that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has exclusive jurisdiction over labor and employment matters in Nigeria. It is also clear that the NICN has general powers to use international best practices in resolving labor disputes in Nigeria. Section 254 (C) (1) (f) and (H) of the Constitutional Amendment Act (third amendment), 2010 it says like this:

“(I) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 251, 257, 272 and all provisions contained in this Constitution, and in addition to other jurisdictions that may be conferred upon it by law of the National Assembly, the National Labor Court has and exercises jurisdiction to the exclusion any other court in civil matters and affairs;

(f). In connection with or in connection with unfair labor practices or international best practices in labor, employment and industrial relations

(H). In relation to, in connection with or in relation to the application or interpretation of international labor standards “

Likewise, Section 7 (6) of the State Labor Court Act, 2006 it says like this:

In exercising its jurisdiction or any of the powers conferred on it by this Act or any other ordinance or statute, the court shall take due account of good or international best practice in industrial relations or industrial relations and of what good or international good practice is in Labor or labor relations are a matter of fact

The cumulative effect of the provisions of Section 254 (C) (1) (f) and (H) of the Constitutional Amendment Act (third amendment), 2010 and Section 7 (6) of the National Labor Court Act, 2006 is that the NICN does indeed fall within its powers to apply good or international best practice to labor and labor law provisions.

However, Section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) states that no treaty between the federation and any other country has legal force unless such a treaty has been enacted by the National Assembly. In the meantime, Nigeria has not ratified the 1982 Employment Termination Convention, that is, it has not yet been put into force by the National Assembly, and therefore the decision was made in EBERE ONYEKACHI ALOYSIUS V. DIAMOND BANK PLC cited above, it can also be argued that it is in contradiction to Section 254 (C) (2) of the Constitutional Amendment Act (third amendment), 2010.

The court ruled in the case of GENERAL SANI ABACHA V CHIEF GANI FAWEHINMI (1996) 9 NWLR (Pt 475) 710 that an international convention, treaty or international protocol cannot be enforced in Nigeria unless it has been ratified by Nigeria.

In conclusion, the tides refer to the principle that
whoever hires can fire seems to be changing rapidly and the NICN is at the forefront of the movement as the court insists on upholding principles of good or international best practice in labor and labor law provisions. Therefore, terminating the appointment of workers for no reason or valid reason can now justify sanctioning the Nigerian court in accordance with recent rulings of the Nigerian National Labor Courts, which uphold best international labor practices, unless some of these recent rulings by the NICN is overturned on appeal by the higher court, specifically the Court of Appeal, which is now the final arbitration tribunal in labor and employment matters in Nigeria

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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