An Accra Labour Court has ruled that ten staff of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) whose contracts were declared null and void by management in 2012 were dismissed unfairly.
The court presided over by Justice Laurenda Owusu on Monday ordered the YEA to pay the plaintiffs’ salaries from November 2012 to August 2014.
The Agency has also been ordered to pay interest on the said salaries from November 2012 till date.
The court ordered the payment of GHC6,000 in damages to each plaintiff and a cost of GHC30,000, but a request by the plaintiffs led by David Quashie for their reinstatement was, however, dismissed by the judge.
Soon after the former boss of YEA previously known as Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA), Kobby Acheampong, took over the running of the Agency from the Abuga Pele administration in 2012, the contracts of several workers were terminated for being unqualified.
Some of the dismissed staff, numbering ten, fought back by dragging the Agency to court after previous attempts to settle the case failed.
David Quashie and his colleagues told the court after serving as paid interns for more than two years, an opportunity opened for the recruitment of regular staff which they applied for, were interviewed and given the jobs.
The plaintiffs say their appointment letters were duly signed by either the then Executive Director of the GYEEDA Abuga Pele or the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Alhaji Abudulai Yakubu.
But the YEA in response claimed the plaintiffs were inadvertently interviewed and that they should not have been employed.
The YEA claimed “that owing to a sequence of events borne of a fundamental mistake of fact and inadvertence on the part of the defendant, and outright subterfuge on the part of the Plaintiffs, they went through an interview process which they should not have attended at all as being unqualified to so attend and they were inadvertently issued with letters purporting to assimilate them into employ of the defendant.”
The YEA said: “the fundamental mistake of fact was promptly rectified when it came to the attention of the defendant and the Plaintiffs were left in no doubt at all being put in their rightful places not as staff of the defendant, but as interns.”
But the Plaintiffs insisted: “at all material times before said surprising response, they placed due reliance on the said appointments and all processes prior and leading to those appointments, and that Plaintiffs who were not in any position to know the internal workings of said appointing authorities had never been asked to stop work.” The court agreed with the requests of the plaintiffs.
After the judgement was delivered, lawyer for Plaintiffs Roselyne Kaledzi of A-Partners @ Law who represented Samson Lardy Anyenini told the court “my lord, we are extremely grateful for this judgment, it is thoroughly sound and unimpeachable.”
The individual and cumulative calculations together with the interests, damages and costs to be paid by YEA will be submitted to the court within 8 days.
The National Labour Commission (NLC) had in 2015 directed the YEA to pay an amount of GHS455,364 to the staff for wrongfully terminating their contracts. But the YEA refused to comply, hence the latest legal action.