Employer’s Liability To Hid Employee Under The Nigerian Contract Of Employment

Project and Seminar Material for Law

Employer’s Liability To Hid Employee Under The Nigerian Contract Of Employment


The laws which govern employment occupy a position of considerable importance in any modern society. This is so because of the tremendous contributions which workers can make to national growth and development, as well as the general well-being of the nation’s citizenry. Labour law has a vital role to play in the mobilization of the work force for national growth.

The major players in employment are essentially-the employer and the employee and whenever there is a contractual relationship between these two parties, the binding contract naturally brings about rights and duties which must be complied with. Their respective rights and duties have to be analyzed wholly in contractual terms. In many civilize countries, a case study of Nigerian, it has been observed from historical antecedents, a structured favour to employers over and above the employees liability arose.

As much as it is an undisputed fact that employers reserve the right to dismiss alongside other rights, employees also have rights which they can also exercise. But in most circumstances, due to ignorance of many employees, the opportunity to challenge such unlawful acts of the employers elude them. Efforts has been made in this research projects to identify these problems, their causes and also solutions have been suggested in the concluding chapter for a need to reform the whole set up as it affects labor law and practice in Nigeria.

Chapter Four

Summary and Recommendation

4.1 Summary

Employment is a generic term or umbrella covering many things. Given a situation where the terms of the contract of employment clearly specify the duties and responsibilities of the employee alongside the employer or master’s duties and as well the implied terms which are imposed by law simply because of the existence of contract of service. The courts have in resent times used the implied terms and certain incidents of contract of employment of the employer and employee relationship to regulate the employment relationship, to place new obligations upon the employer and the employee as well as to create new rights. Despite the obligations and rights each party has, it has been observed from historical antecedents that the employee in a contract of employment is the weaker party. Although they exists a presumption of equality between the parties, in reality it is but a fiction per A. A. Adeogun. The author has commented that in countries like Nigeria where there are more workmen than the jobs available and where the employer can choose freely who to employ and under what conditions they are to be employed, the bargaining power of the individual worker is of little importance in practice.

The law to a large extent has made protective provisions for the individual worker in a contract of service. Provisions have been made for the physical and psychological safety of employees while serving their employers. As such, the employer incurs liability and owes compensation to the employee where he fails to carry out the duties he consented to and ought to do, when he negligently carries out the duties, when he wrongfully dismisses the employee. The employer can also incurliability vicariously. Most of these adverse acts of the employer against the employee and the liability he incurs arise either from express or implied terms of the contract of service.
In line with the above, the law has also provided a wide range of remedies to the disposal of the employee.
In conclusion, to some extent, the employer’s liability in this regard has professed tremendously in favour of the employee. This may largely be attributed to a sort of liberal attitude of some of the common Law Courts. Nigerian courts have equally adopted this liberal attitude. But the most important contributing factor is the legislations and have gone further to impose liabilities on the employer. Although tremendous steps have been made in favour of the employment to salvage them from unfair labour practices, these tremendous steps seem to be too little progress to actually effect the change that we need in our labour sectors.

4.1 Recommendations

The question now is, what needs to be done to salvage the groaning employees in the country? Ineffect, Nigerian workers who are sacrifice daily for the economic development of the country are left to the whims and caprices of their employers. In all industrialized countries of the world, the safety of the worker, his security and satisfaction in the job are the paramount concern of the state. The constitution itself in section 17(3) of the 1999 constitution seeks to ensure that the Nigerian workers is able to participate fully in the economic, political and social development of the nation. Regrettably though, this provision is often not heeded.

As a developing nation Nigeria is, it is important that workers are given adequate attention in the jobs they are employed to do. In line with the provision of the constitution in section 17(3), it is submitted that the first logical step to take is that the government and all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers to recognize that it is their duty and responsibility to conform to, observe and apply the section of the constitution.

Another step is that a compulsory insurance scheme for all employees should be made mandatory for all employers, to ensure or guarantee the security of job of their employees. Also, a law with adequate safety provisions, aimed at protecting the employee both in industry and government departments, should be made. Again there is also the need for a review of all Labour Enactment in Nigeria to make them conform with the trend of development, in this regard, it is submitted that the effect of the current section 12 of the labour Act is that it is no longer good law in Nigeria. It is suggested also that measures should be taken against the state, when she fails to obey court orders.

It is however not intended in this work to portray that it is always the employer who breaches contractual terms, but it is hoped that employers of labour, relevant government agencies like FIRS and ITF, relevant stakeholders including the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the entire Nigerian labour movement, will collaborate and probably consider the suggestions made above and consider other solutions and suggestions and also strategies, to restructure and strengthen this aspect of the law and the challenges posed by it, for a sustainable, better advanced and comfortable industrial system in our country Nigeria.

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