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    Denial/Abrupt termination of employment

    Denial/Abrupt termination of employment

    Miss X, a lady who was HIV positive was given employment by a school, Teene Todds Day Nursery School after an interview with the school’s Director for the position of a nurse in the school’s clinic. After Miss X had been sent an offer of employment letter for acceptance, she was instructed to resume work immediately as the school was in desperate need of a school nurse. She resumed as expected and an appropriate officer of the school collected her acceptance letter for necessary processing and documentation.

    The same day Miss X resumed work, she was taken to an office where she was supposed to have operated from. She even went on to put her Nurse’s uniform on and treated some of the pupils before closing for the day. While Miss X was going about the day’s job, she stumbled on a booklet that contained the rules and regulations for staff of the school. In the course of going through this booklet, she came about a regulation that required her to disclose her HIV/AIDS status or be fired upon discovery by the school’s authority.

    What Miss X has just read from the booklet prompted her to go to the Director of the school to confide in her about her HIV status. It was on account of this disclosure that Miss X was asked out of the school’s premises with different aspersions being cast on her. She was told that she could not work in the school with that status. An officer of the school angrily told her that if parents of the pupils in her school became aware of Miss X living with HIV, they would remove their children from the school. The same officer went ahead to verbally and emotionally assault Miss X by describing her as a careless nurse who allowed herself to be infected with HIV. The officer later ordered Miss X to leave the premises of the school immediately, and not bother to complete either her day’s work or the remaining documentation. All the efforts Miss X made to have an informed conversation with the officer on the issue of her humiliating and dehumanizing treatment fell on deaf ears. Miss X made attempts at other days to see the officers of the school to still have an informed conversation with them but the security man at the gate acting on instructions would not allow her. There was a day Miss X spent more than three hours at the gate waiting to see the officers of the school but was only allowed to speak on phone with one from the gate.

    There has been a total of 5 court sittings. Upon filing the originating processes (Complaint, Statement of Facts, and a Motion on Notice) in court, counsel to the defendants after several adjournments at his instance filed a Notice of preliminary Objection. The Notice challenges the filing of a Complaint and a Statement of Facts without the actual name of the Claimant inscribed on the process even when there is an application seeking the leave of court to prosecute the matter under a condition of anonymity. Lawyers Alert responded to the objection and Counsel to parties adopted their respective written addresses and the Abuja Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) adjourned for a ruling on the objection.

    A ruling on the objection was later delivered in favour of Lawyers Alert and the substantive matter has been adjourned twice for the Claimant to open her case. On both dates, adjournments have been sought at the instance of the Defendants. However, when the case came up on the 5th day of October 2018, parties and their counsel who were present in court were informed that the presiding judge had been transferred out of jurisdiction. Lawyers Alert was advised to write the president of the court for the reassignment of the matter to another judge. This, Lawyers Alert has done.

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