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> GOVERNANCE - home > Employment protection legislation database - EPLex > Nigeria

Nigeria - Substantive requirements for dismissals


Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - Nigeria - 2013    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: No
Remarks:
  • No statutory obligation to inform the worker of the grounds of termination.


Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none
Remarks:
  • - Under Nigerian Law, employment contracts can be terminated at will. This principle of common law has been codified in sec. 11(1) of the LA which provides that: "(1) Either party to a contract of employment may terminate the contract on the expiration of notice given by him to the other party of his intention to do so".
    - The LA (sec. 11(5)) also expressly retains the common law right of an employer to summarily dismiss an employee for gross misconduct. In addition, the LA also the employer's ability to dismiss on the grounds of redundancy. 'Redundancy' is defined as "an involuntary and permanent loss of employment caused by an excess of manpower"(sec. 20 LA).
    It is worth noting that according to secondary sources, there have been developments in the case law which contrast with the principle of termination at will. See: Chioma Kanu Agomo, 'Part I. Individual Employment Relations' (August 2010), in Prof. Dr R. Blanpain, Prof. Dr M. Colucci (Eds.), International Encyclopaedia for Labour Law and Industrial Relations (Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands), p. 23, para. 272: According to sec. 7(4) of the National Industrial Court Act (2006), in exercising its jurisdiction or any powers conferred upon it by its Act or any other enactment or law, the Court is to consider 'good or international best practice in labour or industrial relations'.
    The National Industrial Court has used this provision in the area of termination of employment and stated in the Pengassan case, that " it is no longer fashionable in industrial relations law and practice to terminate an employment relationship without adducing any valid reason for such termination'.


Prohibited grounds: pregnancy; maternity leave; trade union membership and activities
Remarks:
  • - Sec. 9 (6) b) LA prohibits the dismissal of worker
    "(i) by reason of trade union membership, or
    (ii) because of trade union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours, or
    (iii) by reason of the fact that he has lost or been deprived of membership of a trade union or has refused or been unable to become, or for any other reason is not, a member of a trade union."
    - Sec. 54(4) LA prohibits the employer from giving a notice of dismissal to a woman during her maternity leave (6 weeks before the delivery of the child and 6 weeks after). This prohibition also apply to a women who is absent from her work for a longer period as a result of illness certified by a registered medical practitioner to arise out of her pregnancy or confinement and to render her unfit for work.




Workers enjoying special protection: pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave
Remarks:
  • Sec. 54(4) LA prohibits the employer from giving a notice of dismissal to a woman during her maternity leave (6 weeks before the delivery of the child and 6 weeks after). This prohibition also apply to a women who is absent from her work for a longer period as a result of illness certified by a registered medical practitioner to arise out of her pregnancy or confinement and to render her unfit for work.