IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND FAIR PLAY, TIME THE GOVT ADDRESS CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL CASES SERIOUSLY, SAYS ASEAN APEC LEAD HUMAN RIGHTS & INTELLIGENCE LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘As a former victim of a drawn-out constructive dismissal myself, the pain, shame, hurt and damage to the family, I cannot but shudder with fear wondering what comes next, for Malaysian employees and in this case, for a dear friend who has written to me!’

 

CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL – A MALICIOUS ATTACK AGAINST EMPLOYEE OR HIS ENTIRE FAMILY?

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND FAIRPLAY, TIME THE GOVT ADDRESS THIS SERIOUSLY, SAYS ASEAN APEC LEAD HUMAN RIGHTS & INTELLIGENCE LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE!

I received an email from an individual who had worked with me when I was senior administrator at a premier private hospital, before the same entity carried out a retrenchment of 1 staff and a senior one at that under the excuse of “redundancy” and the “economic downturn?”

Yes, it was I and this was in 1999!

Go read the notes of evidence and the judgment it is shocking, lessons were never learnt by the rich, powerful and connected?

For the record, there were several such cases before mine and after mine, as this particular employer seems to have such cases aplenty registered under Section 20 of the legislation and others?

Only I know how that affected not just me, my marriage, my family, my reputation, my finances and the next 12 years, I fought ‘tooth and nail’ for justice and received it at the Court of Appeal, which ordered my reinstatement and damages!

But, they were for just two years as the law was amended again heavily tilted to industry players?

When the justices read the judgment, I broke down in tears!

If not for the love, prayers from many close friends, priests and my loving supporting children, who stood by me, those long 12 years and my tested faith in a powerful god I would have been totally shattered!

Those 12 years of adjustments and readjustments changes in lifestyle and spending patterns were challenging.

But we had a great provider and protector in the ALMIGHTY!

So I cannot but feel saddened and hurt to receive an email from a former colleague, which reads as this:

“Good afternoon Dato,

I have worked in XXXX since March 1996 until June 2017.

I was appointed as the Assistant Food & Beverage Manager upon employment.

In 1997 August, I was promoted to become the Food & Beverage Manager.

I was the F&B Manager until May 2011.

In June 2011, I was transferred to another department which was not my specialist.

And again in September 2015, I was transferred to the store department which I do not have any relevant experience, totally a new department.

I told my boss and also the CEO that I don’t have any experience in this department but they said it was the management decision.

Finally they put me in PIP (performance improvement plan) and terminated me on the ground of “Poor Performance” after working for 21 years in XXX.”

He sought my advice in going forward in this matter.

My larger question is – what do we do with employers or industry players, who have a reservoir of cases reported to the Human Resources ministry for arbitration under Section 20?

What do we do with individuals and people of power in industry whose administrative decisions and prejudices destroy the lives of employees?

This through evidence introduced in court proceedings and found true by the findings?

Why are these players or their conduits never punished by law?

Is it not time to set up a task force to examine these industry players and take them to task accordingly failing which, we will always have internal players and politicians using various tactics to terminate staff at their ‘whims and fancies?”

Should we not ‘blame and shame” such industry players, some of whom, have won accolades such as the Prime Ministers Award and MITI Quality Award but to what avail, if they really also have a notorious “mafia” within who destroy the lives and career of individuals who have served for decades with passion and dedication?

Worst so cold and with no people skills?

At the same time, are we now to burn the books on the code of conduct for industrial harmony when retrenching staff, as it seems to no longer be relevant to addressing industrial woes in Malaysia?

The 40-year-old code specifies the various steps when retrenching staff that causes the least disruption and inconvenience to both workers and employers – the operative word being disruption and inconvenience.

So if you thought that the duty of the government as a stakeholder in public interest as well as social and industrial justice is to ensure that the workers’ welfare is given top priority, as it is in most civilized countries, should this norm now be re-examined?

Is it time for a high powered government task force to criminalize such industry behavior?

As a former victim of a drawn-out constructive dismissal myself, the pain, shame, hurt and damage to the family, I cannot but shudder with fear wondering what comes next, for Malaysian employees and in this case, for a dear friend who has written to me!