His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has ordered Reiz Continental Hotel to pay its former staff, Sally Charles the sum of N124,308 balance of gratuity for nine years meritorious service, N18.308 unremitted pension deducted from January to June 2015 and N300,000.00 cost of action within 30 days.
The Court further held that entitlement of an employee is provided in the letter of employment and the conditions of service, which form the bedrock of the relationship between employer and employee that Claimant has failed to prove entitlement to long service award.
From facts, the claimant testified that she resigned after serving for about ten years, that the firm refused to pay her full gratuity, a contributory pension from Jan. to June 2015 and the refusal to pay all terminal benefits has subjected her to anguish, hardship and embarrassment sought for payment of entitlement and damages.
In defence, the firm submitted that that Claimant had been paid all her entitlements and not indebted to claim, averred that the hotel has been diligent and religious in remitting the Claimant’s pension to fund administrator from the day of commencement of Pension Act till June 2015.
According to the Defendant counsel, Nonso Umeatuegbu Esq the revised handbook tendered by the Claimant was made in 2012 to introduce gratuity as the terminal benefit that the firm by internal memo notified its employees to visit its personnel department for collection of their gratuity which started accruing from 2010 to July 3rd 2015 when it was stopped.
Counsel Submitted further that Claimant would not have qualified for the long service award considering the fact that she was employed in 2006 and resigned in 2015 thereby bringing her years of service to nine years.
In opposition, Counsel to the claimant, Anderson Ojoshimite Ejiofor Esq contended that Sally’s legal right is premised on the incontrovertible fact of her service to the firm for about ten years that an employee is entitled to all benefits accruable under the terms of employment urged the court to hold so.
Delivering judgment, having carefully and painstakingly perused the processes and the submissions of both counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado held that entitlement of an employee is provided in the letter of employment and the conditions of service, which form the bedrock of the relationship between employer and employee.
“It is my view that exhibit DWB, being an internal memo issued by the 1st Defendant to its members of staff is not applicable to the Claimant in this case for the simple reason that the exhibit was issued on 11/9/20015 after the Claimant had resigned her appointment with effect from 8/7/2015.
“This means that the Claimant’s entitlement or terminal benefit must be paid in line with exhibit E, which was the staff handbook in operation as at the time the Claimant resigned her employment.
“The condition of service clearly stated that an employee that served the 1st Defendant will be entitled to payment of 6 weeks’ salary for every completed year of service. This means the Claimant will be paid six weeks basic salary for nine years as gratuity and nothing will be paid for the five months eight days service since is not completed year.
On the claimant claim for the ten years service award, Justice Kado expressed thus;
“Furthermore, the case of the Claimant would have been established by the doctrine of arithmetical approximation if the Claimant has served for more than nine and a half years as at the time of resignation, alas! That was not the case here. In the circumstances, the Claimant has not proved entitlement to this relief as she had not served for ten years which would have made her entitled and eligible for the award.”