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CIPM e-Newsletter
A Monthly Publication On HR Issues
This newsletter focuses on knowledge enriching ideas, shared perspectives,
experience, updates on HR issues and information within a 'glocal' context
to enhance the quality of HR practice by professionals.
· Employee-Employer relationship: The Law side
· How HR Leaders can become more entrepreneurial
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0802 338 5269
Levi Dayo was employed by ABC Air Ltd as a Security Ofcer on 1st February 2012 and his employment
was conrmed on 19th September 2012 after successfully completing the mandatory probation
period. Levi’s job title was changed after 3 years but ABC Air was silent about the associated grade
level. On 2nd September 2015, there was an allegation by ABC Air that Levi and his 6 man team
compromised in the performance of their duties at the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos by allowing
a passenger board the Aircraft (Flight W3 101 LOS-LHR) without the right documentation when they
were on duty. Following this allegation, Levi was placed on two weeks suspension with effect from
22nd September 2015 to allow for an investigation.
A disciplinary panel was set up by the Human Resources Department of ABC Air, and based on the
Panel’s report, Levi and three others were summarily dismissed without benets while the team leader
and another member of the team were pardoned by ABC Air and were restored to their respective
Levi claimed the allegation against him by ABC Air was unfounded and the disciplinary panel failed to
do a thorough investigation which led to a misappropriation of justice. Furthermore, he was of the
opinion that the Human Resource Manual and the Employee Handbook copiously referred to by the
disciplinary panel and which provisions formed the basis for his summary dismissal were never given to
him by ABC Air. That his working benets such as salaries, wages and emoluments of September 2015
and October 2015 were not paid on his dismissal on 6th October 2015. Finally, that ABC Air has
continued to deprive him of his pension for almost 3 years (34 months) thereby subjecting him to untold
Levi then wrote a letter to ABC Air through his solicitors demanding for compensation for wrongful
dismissal and for failure to remit salary and pension, but ABC Air failed to respond to the letter, thus
giving rise to this legal action for redress.
Mr. Levi led a suit against ABC Air and submitted two issues for determination as follows:
(a) Whether his summary dismissal is not wrongful.
(b) Whether he is entitled to the reliefs sought (i.e. monetary reliefs in terms of salaries and allowances
and outstanding pension contribution).
This was adopted from a recent case decided at the National Industrial
Court (NIC). (Names used in this write-up are not real names).
Decision: Levi complained about his summary dismissal by ABC Air in which he asked for an order
setting aside the summary dismissal for being wrongful, null and void; and for which he is asking for
Levi does not understand that a dismissal cannot be both wrongful and at the same time null and void.
He also contended that his summary dismissal for gross misconduct was based on a document that did
not exist and was not given to him and as such the dismissal is wrongful.
The court held that there is a distinction between mere wrongful dismissal and an invalid or null
dismissal. “…That where the court makes a nding of wrongful dismissal, a payment in lieu of notice
will apply; but where the nding is that the dismissal or termination was null and void, then there is no
dismissal or termination as what ABC Air did was a nullity before the law...”
Insight: Levi in this case found it difcult to accept liability for documents that were not given to him
in the course of his employment with ABC Air. Therefore, to avoid any form of misconception, it is
important that employee handbook/HR manual is handed over to the employees upon their
resumption with the organisation (or when applicable) to give the employees clear understanding
of/adherence to the conditions of service of the organisation.
Decision: Levi further contended that the investigation process, procedure and the eventual
conclusion of the investigative panel set up by ABC Air was fraught with bias, discrimination, prejudice,
shoddy investigation, nepotism and failure to adhere to global best practices. He went on to give the
particulars of the shoddy investigation.
The court held that, “…aside the mere assertion of Levi to these claims, nothing else was provided to
substantiate any of them. For instance, Levi submitted that the investigative panel of ABC Air was in
gross contravention of the principle against discrimination by reinstating some of his dismissed
colleagues and dismissing others in the course of the same transaction. Levi’s pleading was of no help
since no evidence of the persons against whom the employee was discriminated was put forward
before the Court...”
Insight: Given Levi’s strong perception that the entire process that led to his dismissal lacked
credibility, it is advised that HR should follow best practices and ensure transparency and clear
communication (using various platforms) while handling employees’ disciplinary matters. Failure to do
so may be damaging to the organisation’s reputation
Decision: The employee’s claims for monetary reliefs in terms of salaries, allowances and
outstanding pension contribution which the court hinged on the wrongfulness or nullity of the
summary dismissal was not successfully proved by Levi, hence cannot be granted since the basis of
their claim has also not been successfully proved.
Insight: It is imperative for HR to know that remittance of statutory deductions as and when due is
not negotiable, as failure to do so may put HR and the organisation at a disadvantage. In the above
case, non-remittance of employee’s statutory deductions was a veritable tool the employee used
against the employer. The case would have been in favour of Levi if he had supported his claims with
Decision: Levi claimed that despite his promotion in February 2015, the corresponding salary for
the current level was never paid. Here, Levi believes he was promoted based on the letter dated 23rd
February 2015 titled “Revised Job Title”. The court held that the revision of job title is not a promotion
and cannot be interpreted as such, adding that an employer reserves the right to change the conditions
of service of the employees.
Insight: In the letter of redeployment given to Levi, the new job title was indicated but the associating
grade level was not indicated. This gives room for ambiguity in interpretation of the content of the
letter. It is advisable that letters of redeployment of employees indicate clearly, the new grade level of
the employees, so that employees do not mistake a letter of redeployment for that of a promotion.
Having entrepreneurial skills is becoming inevitable in our present day society. Individuals and
organizations with aspiration to remain in business must have entrepreneurial mindset that will trigger the
creative thinking required for excellent value delivery.
HR plays the role of people management and business partner hence it is easier for same to acquire deep
entrepreneurial knowledge through people management and business partnering process.
HR leaders can become more entrepreneurial via the following ve steps suggested by Dorie Clark
(December 2017):
(1) Do not stay in your lane: The best HR leaders lean in on the business holistically, not just the
‘people’ side”, says Mark Legestee, vice president of global talent and organisation development for Yum! “I
think it is critical for HR leaders to demonstrate deep know-how of the business, show initiative to drive the
business and have courage”.
When HR leaders understand the overall business context, they can relate better to their colleagues in other
departments and gain respect and inuence. You can amp up your knowledge by asking people across the
organisation about the issues they are facing, networking through professional societies and social media,
reading widely on business and leadership, and getting information on the ground from clients and
(2) Embrace constraints: If you are like many HR leaders – particularly solo practitioners – you likely
may not have the time, budget or staff you would prefer at your disposal. While that can be frustrating, it can
also spur innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. Research shows that when people’s resources are
limited, they tend to come up with more creative options for solving problems than they would if otherwise.
Brand-Richards says, “people need to be extremely entrepreneurial by setting up processes and programs
for staff to follow and imagining how they might incorporate some of what is done in larger organizations
into their smaller ofces”. This prompts staffers to learn from colleagues in other organizations and to
explore partnership possibilities and new ways of leveraging vendor and volunteer help.
(3) Ask the hard questions: Entrepreneurial leaders must be willing to face facts and ask
uncomfortable questions of both themselves and others. What courageous actions should you take to
impact the business? What should we do that we have never done but always wanted to?”
Sometimes pursuing a promising new direction means abandoning a long-cherished program that is no
longer a strategic priority, and that can be politically fraught. In the moment, the trade-offs might not seem
worth it, but focusing on the future can help you to get in the right long-term frame of mind to make tough
In strategic meetings, leaders usually start by imagining what the business may be like in ve to 10 years,
and then push themselves to implement ideas that get them there faster.
(4) Reward entrepreneurial employees: The concept of “thinking entrepreneuriallyoften gets lip
service, but in practice, some executive and managers still disapprove of employees who pursue side
ventures. The best leaders, though, see things differently.
Great leaders understand that entrepreneurial thinking is a skill that, once honed, can be applied very
successfully in one’s day job. It’s a way for employees to seek out their own professional development
and your company is the beneciary. If the executives in your organisation do not see it that way, take the
initiative to make the case to them.
(5) Do not wait for change – lead it: The workplace is rapidly changing, and successful HR leaders
know they cannot wait for change to come to them. When you aggressively pursue opportunities, you
shape how the future unfolds.
Continuously invent new ways of providing professional development opportunities for your staff. Talent
management programs is an example of how to create pipeline for engaging and advancing staff through
a training program that values strengths and helps people accomplish goals to grow their professional
Culled from Dorie Clark at
March 2018