PUC Records Victory for Access Bank PLC in respect of Claims for Retirement Benefits, Compensation, and Sundry Reliefs to the Tune of ₦459,592,456.07
Paul Usoro and Co (“PUC”) successfully represented Access Bank Plc – the erstwhile employer of Mr Benson Oraelosi – Former General Manager of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc (Now Access Bank Plc) in Suit No. NICN/LA/109/2020: Mr Benson Oraelosi v. Access Bank Plc at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (“NICN”), Lagos Judicial Division in a well-considered Judgment delivered by Honourable Justice (Prof) Oji on 22 February 2023. The Suit, was at the instance of Mr. Benson Oraelosi, as Claimant against the Defendant seeking Retirement entitlements, compensation and sundry reliefs in the cumulative sum of N459,592,456.07 (Four Hundred and Fifty-nine Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-two Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-six Naira and Seven Kobo).
The Suit emanated from the Claimant’s voluntary resignation/termination of his contract with the Defendant upon the merger of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc with Access Bank Plc. The Claimant, after his “resignation”, claimed his terminal entitlements pursuant to the Defendant’s 2006 Policy Manual which he vehemently alleged to be the applicable Manual at the time of his exit from the Defendant in 2019. The claims against the Defendant include; (i) a declaration that the Defendant’s action of calculating the Claimant’s retirement benefits under the Retirement Policy Scheme that came into effect in 2017 is void and of no effect having regard to the provision of the Defendant’s extant Human Capital Management Policies and Procedures Handbook of 2006, (ii) a declaration that the Claimant is entitled to have his retirement benefits and entitlements calculated under the Retirement Policy Scheme of the Defendant’s Human Capital Handbook of 13 March 2006, (iii) a declaration that the Claimant is entitled to enjoy all the benefits and entitlements which accrued to him as an employee of the Defendant pursuant to the Defendant’s Human Capital Handbook of 13 March 2006, (iv) an Order directing the Defendant to pay the Claimant the sum of N328,331,881.24 (Three Hundred and Twenty-eight Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-one Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty-one Naira and Twenty-four Kobo) representing the Claimant’s three months compensation for each completed year of service as stipulated in the 2006 Manual and other sundry reliefs cumulatively totalling the sum of N459,592,456.07 (Four Hundred and Fifty-nine Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-two Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-six Naira and Seven Kobo) as monetary claims.
The crux of the Claimant’s claim was that his exit from the Defendant was a voluntary retirement pursuant to the 2006 Manual having spent an unbroken period of 25 years and was above 45 years at the time of his exit from the Defendant’s employ. On the contrary, the Defendant’s position was that the 2006 Manual was reviewed in 2014, and subsequently in 2017, being the extant Manual at the point of the Claimant’s exit from the Bank in 2019. The Claimant made a heavy weather of the fact that he was not personally advised of the review of the said 2017 policy, but he admitted the receipt of the sum of N57,000,000(Fifty-seven Million Naira) which was paid to him as retirement/ gratuity upon the review of the said policy.
The Court upon a holistic consideration and evaluation of the parties’ case, agreed with the Defendant that the applicable Human Capital Policy at the time of the exit of the Claimant from the Defendant was the 2017 Manual. Consequently, the Honourable Court refused all the monetary claims of the Claimant against the Defendant.
Apart from the illuminating questions of law and facts that were in issue PUC has re-affirmed its mastery to competently defend the interests of her Clients in labour and related matters and indeed, all spectra of the legal system.
For more enquiries, contact:
PUC’s Financial Services, Arbitration, Corporate law and Tax (FACT) Practice Section