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Industrial Court orders UBA to pay Customer Service Manager N30m damages for forceful resignation

The Presiding Judge, Akure Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Kiyersohot Damulak has declared the forceful resignation of United Bank for Africa, Customer Service Manager, Akure Branch, Mr. Timothy Adu’s appointment on 17th July 2020 as instructed and directed by the Operation Manager amounted to forced or constructive dismissal.

The Court held that the content of Adu’s resignation letter does not portray a premeditated action on his part, and ordered the United Bank for Africa to pay Mr. Adu the sum of thirty Million Naira (N30,000,000.00) only as general damages for the forceful resignation or constructive dismissal with the sum of N200,000.00 cost of action within 30 days.

From facts, the claimant- Mr. Timothy Adu had submitted that he was employed as an Assistant Banking officer by the UBA on August 4, 2006, and received a query from his Branch Manager on the 15th July 2020 on an allegation of misconduct which he responded.

He contended that he was forced under duress to write a resignation letter at about 8.00 p.m. on 17th July 2020 by his Operation Manager claiming to be acting on the instruction of the management.

Mr. Adu asserted that when he probed his Area Operation Manager (AOM) for the reason, AOM said the management claimed they read in the internet service that he was rude to a customer of the bank over an issue, and all efforts to tell his story proved abortive, insisted on his resignation that he has no power to reverse the management decision.

In defence, the defendant- United Bank for Africa through its Area Operation Manager averred that Mr. Adu was issued a query and he responded in a manner indicating deficiency in his ability to hold the position of a Customer Service Manager.

The Operation Manager asserted that on July 17, 2020, between 6.30 p.m. and 7.00 p.m., he invited Mr. Adu to inform him that with effect from July 18, 2020, he (Adu) would no longer retain his position as Customer Service Manager but was posted to head the Cash Officers’ desk with all his emoluments unaffected for efficient and effective service delivery.

He averred that Mr. Adu was incensed and arrogantly vowed that rather than accepting such position, he would resign, and some of the staff persuaded him from resigning but all pleading were to no avail, and urged the Court to dismiss the case in its entirety.

In opposition, F. O. Falade Esq, counsel to Mr. Adu, argued that his client was never informed of re-posting to the head of Cash officer’s desk and the Area Operation Manager could not have validly done so as he lacked the capacity to do so in line with the provision of the defendant’s Group Staff Handbook.

Learned Counsel further argued that the UBA’s witness was not present at the bank premises during the July 17th 2020 encounters, and his deposition on the subject matter is a complete falsehood, urged the court to hold so.

Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Kiyersohot Damulak held that there is no evidence of the posting of Mr. Adu from Customer Service Manager to Cash Officers’ desk, and the parole evidence of the Bank Witness is not sufficient proof of that fact.

The Court held that neither the UBA witness nor any of those staff testified despite making a witness deposition, and even when Mr. Adu repeatedly stated that the witness was not present at all at the bank premises during the July 17th 2020 encounters.

The Court stated that the content of Mr. Adu’s resignation letter with a one-sentence does not portray a premeditated action on the part of Mr. Adu, and found that Mr. Adu was forced to resign his employment with the bank under circumstances that amount to constructive dismissal.

 

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