It has been generally assumed that the worker had a contractual right to continue in employment until it was properly terminated. The right to dismiss is based on two propositions;
- The existence of an implied term allowing either party to terminate the contract by reasonable notice, and
- The presumption that breach of a fundamental term of the contract of employment by either party amounted to a repudiation of the contract by that party conferring on the other party an option to accept the repudiation and rescind the contract.
As such, the proof of wrongful dismissal is founded on the common law principle which requires the complainant to prove his case alongside all the technicalities of the law of evidence. This standard of proof was quite remote for the worker and as a result, the state of Cameroon has intervened to introduce a statutory action for wrongful dismissal.
THE ONUS OF PROOF
The legislator has shifted the onus probandi to the employer who after all has both the time and money in line with section 39(3) of the Cameroon labour code 1992 which stipulates that ‘in all cases of dismissal, it shall be up to the employer to show that the grounds for dismissal alleged by him are well founded’. Hence it shall be for the employer to prove the fairness of his action regardless of who raises the issue.
THE GROUND FOR DISMISSAL
The employer must give written notice of his intention to terminate the worker’s contract. And this notice must contain his reasons for such termination. It is the reasons which form the ground for the dismissal and it is based on them that the court will assess whether they were fair enough for a summary dismissal or not. If the courts find out that the reasons were though genuine did not justify the dismissal, then the employer will be liable for wrongful dismissal as was illustrated in the case of C.D.C v D.N Embola 1978, case no. CASWP/40, 78 dd, 9th February 1979 at P. 31.