Basis of assumption of jurisdiction by the NIC over workplace injuries

In the same Mr. Adewole Oluwasegun Ayotunde v Practical Habitat Limited (supra), the court also endorsed the principle that “the fact that the right of a person is infringed in the workplace is not sufficient to confer jurisdiction on the court [over an action for, or a claim over, the infringement] except an employment issue is involved”. On that basis, the court declined jurisdiction over the claimant employee’s claim, from the defendant employer, of damages for wrongful arrest, detention and molestation by the police, which acts took place at the claimant’s workplace in the defendant’s building site.

The relevant facts were that the claimant employee was arrested by the police on the premises of the defendant employer’s worksite. The police had come for one Mr. Fisher, who was a business partner of the defendant employer but, not finding Mr. Fisher at the site, arrested the claimant who was the only person present at the site. Mr. Fisher eventually reported at the police station and the claimant was released forthwith. However, the court declined jurisdiction over the claimant’s claim for damages from the defendant for the said actions of the police done to the claimant at the defendant’s site. The court explained that the basis for its assumption of jurisdiction over workplace injuries was employer’s liability, which did not cover the claim for damages for the arrest, detention and molestation by the police.