Industrial Court Dismisses Entitlement Claim Against Keystone Bank

Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has dismissed the entitlement claim filed by one former staff of the Keystone Bank, Mr Uche against the bank in its entirety for lacking merit.

The Court stated that Mr. Uche having intentionally made the Keystone Bank to accept and grant his request for a voluntary resignation, he must be stopped from denying the significance of his action.

From facts, the claimant- Mr. Uche had alleged that his employment was wrongfully terminated by the Keystone Bank and that the conditions of his employment contained in the terms of his contract were breached by the bank. He asserted that the bank neither served him a month’s notice prior to the termination of his employment nor a month’s salary in lieu.

He further averred that upon receipt of the termination letter, he felt the need to protect his image since he was certain that he did not commit any crime or misconduct and sought that his letter titled, “Service No Longer Required…”, be commuted to a letter of resignation.

According to Mr. Uche, he was neither given a month’s notice of termination of employment nor paid a month’s salary in lieu of such notice, and the bank merely paid him June 2014 salary and has since then owed him for the subsequent years as an employee.

In defense, the defendant- Keystone Bank contended that it did not breach any of the terms of Mr. Uche’s employment contract, and asserted that Mr. Uche having converted his termination to a resignation, cannot be heard to complain of an irregularity which he already acquiesced and benefitted from.

The bank insisted that Mr. Uche was paid a month’s basic salary in lieu of notice as well as his entitlements in line with his employment contract, and urged the court to dismiss the suit.

In opposition, counsel to Mr. Uche stated that the contract between the parties did not contemplate that the 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice which is to be paid upon termination, shall be the basic salary only, that his client is entitled to his full salary with his allowances for that 1 month.

In a well-considered judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Galadima held that a man desires the direct consequences of his actions, and It is not out of place to reason that Mr. Uche’s request for an exchange, a commutation, or a trade-in of the termination via a letter of “services no longer required” for voluntary resignation, meant that Mr. Uche desired the consequences of his voluntary resignation to be the ultimate mode for determining his employment relationship with the bank.

The Court reiterated that without any compulsion or duress, the claimant volunteered for that trade-in, and he cannot be heard to cry wolf thereafter.

Justice Galadima ruled that a person must come to equity with clean hands and mind, and it is safe to assume that what Mr. Uche bears and presents today as the means by which he exited Keystone Bank, is a Letter of Resignation and not the letter of services no longer required.