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Architect for National Cathedral, firm sued for 'unfair' dismissal of UK-based Ghanaian worker

Sir David Adjaye

Wed, 18 Jan 2023 Source:

Sir David Adjaye and his company Adjaye Associates have been sued by Alice Asafu-Adjaye, a former director of the firm over her dismissal in 2015.

Alice Asafu-Adjaye who according to UK-based news portal, Architects Journal bears no relation with the world-acclaimed architect has dragged him and his company to the Labour Division of the Accra High Court on grounds of ‘unfair termination’.

She is demanding a settlement of $61,903 (£50,000) for her unlawful termination in 2015.

Plaintiff’s case

Details of the suit shared by the news portal indicate that Alice Asafu-Adjaye who was a resident of the United Kingdom was transferred to Ghana in 2012 to help manage the newly-established African office in Ghana. She was to serve as the associate director of African projects.

In the writ filed in May 2021, Alice Asafu-Adjaye was fired by David Adjaye and Associates three years into her relocation to Ghana as the company claim that it was shutting down its office in the country.

Alice Asafu-Adjaye claimed in the statement that she was let go without a due severance package or relocation costs for her and her young daughter.

Alice Asafu-Adjaye who the report mentions as having studied and lived in the UK since the mid-80s was offered just four weeks' notice to vacate the job which in her view is against Ghana’s 2003 Labour Act which enjoins employers to give senior staff eleven weeks of notice.

She also noted that contrary to the announcement that the company was winding up its operations in Ghana, David Adjaye and Associates continue operations and bid for more contracts including the National Cathedral project, through another newly incorporated company, Sir David Adjaye & Associates (SDAA).

In the view of Asafu-Adjaye, the folding-up claim was made up by the firm to evade paying her redundancy.

She also alleged that Sir David Adjaye used personnel from the Ghana office to work on his personal projects without paying fees to the company.


Defence’s case

In defence, David Adjaye and Associates is reported to have submitted to the Accra High Court that it breached no law with its decision to lay off Alice Asafu-Adjaye.

According to the firm, the termination of Asafu-Adjaye’s contract was in accordance with the contract she had with the firm.

Court sittings

The report mentions that in the latest sitting of the court on December 20, 2022, the lawyer for David Adjaye disclosed that he was under the instruction of his client to settle the issue out of court. The request was granted albeit conditionally.

At the time of the report by the Architect Journal on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 no resolution had been found between the two parties and if the status quo does not change, they will return to court on January 19.

The Journal says both Sir David Adjaye and David Adjaye and Associates refused to comment when contacted.

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