Court bars Indian from seeking employment in Nigeria
An Indian, Garnesh Kadoor has been barred by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) from taken appointment with Shonghai Technologies Limited until after a period of two year.
He was found to have violated a restrictive covenant he entered with Studio Press (Nigeria) Plc (claimants), which employed him in the first instance.
Justice Oyejoju Oyebola Oyewunmi in his 31 pages judgment agreed with the counsel to the claimant, Mr. Segun Ololade that Kadoor breached Clause 25 of the contract of employment which he willingly entered to the effect that he would not take appointment with Shonghai Technologies Limited (2nd respondent) or any similar business for a period of two years.
Clause 25 of the Contract of employment reads: “For the period of two years immediately following the termination for whatever reason of this agreement, the employee agrees not to work in the same or similar capacity in any company whose business is the same or similar to that of the employer in Nigeria except with the prior written permission of the employer to do so, which permission will not be unreasonably withheld though it will normally be withheld if the employee intends to work in the same or similar business to that carried out by the company”
The Claimant (Studio Press Nigeria Plc) and the second defendant Shonghai Technologies Limited are in the business of packaging.
The judge also held that Songhai Technologies Limited facilitated or intentionally induced the breach of the contract between the foreigner and Studio Press (Nigeria) Plc.
The claimant in its complaints dated April 23 2015 among others claimed against the defendants the following reliefs:
“A declaration that Kadoor cannot take up employment with Shonghai Technologies Ltd or with any other company with similar business or undertaking with it for a period of two years stipulated under Clause 25 of the contract of employment between it and Kadoor.
“An order of injunction restraining Mr. Kadoor from continuing to take employment with Shonghai or any other company with similar business or undertakings with it for a period of two years stipulated under clause 25 of the contract of employment between it and the foreigner.
“An order of injunction restraining the second defendant from further employing or further employing Kadoor in its employment until the expiration of two years of the restrictive covenant contained in clause 25 of its contract of employment with it as well as special damages against both defendants jointly and severally in the sum of N362,726,430.70”. The plaintiff also asked for a cost of the suit assessed as N10million
Studio Press (Nigeria) Plc based its claims on clause 25 of the contract of employment, adding that since it employed Kadoor, he was “a custodian of all claimant’s customers profile artwork and designs and many other confidential information and trade secret which constitute the life wire of its business”
Plaintiff counsel, Ololade was able to lead evidence to the fact that sometime in September 2014, Mr. Kadoor applied for his annual leave to India and it was approved by the management.
According to him, the failure of the Indian to resume on November 3 2014 caused a lot of concern until it was discovered that he (Kadoor) had taken employment with Shonghai Technologies Limited, a company with similar undertakings with it, especially with a mutual agreement with the second defendant not to poach any staff whether local or expatriate from each other’s unless with an approved “No objection consent letter”.
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