A Lagos Division of the National Industrial court has ordered Lilian Nosariemen, a Nigerian doctor to pay the sum of N593,020.56 as salary in lieu of notice to the Lagos State Health Service commission as stated on her terms of employment.
Justice Ikechi Gerald Nweneka made the order on Tuesday after hearing arguments from both counsels. He held that an employee’s power to resign her appointment is absolute, and an employer has no power to accept or reject it.
He also issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney General of Lagos State, Lagos State Civil Service Commission, Lagos State Health Service Commission, the Governing Board of the General Hospital, Ikorodu and their privies, agents from inviting, harassing, intimidating or querying the doctor.
While Dr Lilian is the claimant in the suit, the Lagos State Health Service Commission and 3 others are the defendants.
Dr Lilian claimed that she had applied for transfer from Ikorodu General Hospital on the 1st of July 2020 on the basis of a pre-existing health condition that limited her being able to go to work daily from her residence.
She said she did not get a favorable response from the hospital on her request for transfer which made her resign her appointment which was to take effect from July 3, 2020.
The defendants claimed that Dr Lilian failed to report for duty and when they could not reach her, they issued her a query for absconding from duty.
Thereafter she was invited to attend an investigative disciplinary panel meeting of which she failed to attend.
They argued that by submitting her resignation letter without giving the requisite notice or salary in lieu of notice, she had breached the rule of the resignation of the Lagos State Public Service Rules.
They urged the court to dismiss the case.
The judge’s ruling
In his judgement , Justice Nweneka held that “the constitution of an internal investigative panel to investigate, try and discipline Dr. Lilian is ultra vires the powers of the Lagos State Health Service Commission and the General Hospital, Ikorodu, and consequently null, void, and of no effect whatsoever.”
The court declared that setting up the internal panel to investigate Dr Lilian was illegal, unlawful and void and awarded a cost of N250,000 against the Lagos State Health Service Commission,
“The claimant shall deduct the cost of N250, 000.00 awarded in her favour in this suit from the sum of N593, 020.56, and pay the balance of N343, 020.56 to the 3rd Defendant.” Justice Nweneka ruled.