22 January 2014

Former Microsoft Nigeria Employee Gets N39m For Unlawful Sack After Sexual Harassment

A former Enterprise Marketing Manager of Microsoft Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ejieke Maduka, who was sacked after she complained she was sexually harassed by her immediate boss, has awarded the sum of N39.6 million by the National Industrial Court.
According to reports,Ejieke said she was sacked for refusing to succumb to the sexual advances of her immediate boss, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeje, former Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria. So shewent to court to seek a declaration that the termination of her employment by her employers was as a result of her refusal to succumb to the sexual harassment. And that her fundamental right to human dignity and freedom from discrimination was violated.
In their defence, Mr Onyeje and Microsoft Nigeria argued that it has a right to hire and fire the claimant, adding that her sack had nothing to do with her alleged refusal. That she wasn't the only one sacked as the company was restructuring and downsizing at the time.
On his part, Onyeje denied ever sexually harassing the claimant. His only witness, Awawu Olumide Sojunri, who testified during the trial, said she never saw him sexually harass any female staff. She, however, admitted during cross examination that while on an official trip to Atlanta, the United States, Onyeje touched and poked her, as well as some of her colleagues.
However, in a judgment delivered by Justice O. Obaseki-Osaghae, the court held that Mrs. Maduka's fundamental rights were violated and her pride, dignity and sense or self-worth injured by the actions of her boss. And that there was no evidence of downsizing or restructuring at the material time before the court; neither were the names of the other employees who were also affected by the exercise provided before the court.

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