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VENTURES AFRICA – Former Enterprise Marketing Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, Mrs. Ejieke Maduka, has been awarded N39.6 million ($248,000) in damages by the National Industrial Court following the termination of her employment by former Country Manager Emmanuel Onyeje, for refusing his sexual advances.
According to The Guardian, the claimant Mrs Maduka, had indicated in her suit that she had been sexually harassed and was unjustly laid off for refusing her immediate boss’ sexual advances.
Emmanuel Onyeje who resigned at Microsoft and took over reins at Zinox Technologies as Chief Operating Officer July last year, debunked the sexual harassment claim.
The first defendant Microsoft Nigeria Limited, told the court it retained the right to employ and sack the claimant and appealed for dismissal of the suit adding that Mrs Maduka’s employment termination was part of a “restructuring and downsizing” plan as she wasn’t the only employee laid off.
Emmanual Onyeje presented a witness Awawu Olumide Sojunri, a Microsoft employer, who said she’s never witnessed him sexually harass female staff. However, upon cross examination of Onyeje’s witness, she revealed that the former Country Manager “touched” and “poked” her and other colleagues during an official trip to Atlanta.
The presiding judge, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae ruled in favour of the claimant stating that the defence did not present any evidence of Microsoft Nigeria’s downsizing or restructuring during the period, neither were other names or witnesses affected by the process brought before the law court to substantiate its claim.
US-based parent company Microsoft Corporation, asked the court to excuse it from the court proceeding, as it did not employ nor sack Mrs Maduka.