Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Wednesday January 17th 2018

Engineer terminated unfairly by American boss without any valid reason

Dear Gilbert,

I was recently terminated from my  company unfairly and  I was their  Senior Plating Engineer.

From May 2011, I was promoted to Quality Manager.

However, there was no increment or salary adjustment for my new appointment but was promised verbally by the Managing Director that my salary would be adjusted when company made profit.

From December 2011, I was assigned to fix and manage the Warehouse/Logistics operations of the company in additional to my Quality Manager responsibilities.

No adjustment and increment was made to my additional responsibility. I did not complain of the non-salary adjustment as I was told that the company was losing money then.

On February 2012, the local Singaporean Managing Director resigned from the company, and was replaced by foreign American citizen’s Managing Director (who still has no Singapore official working permit or document of working here).

From April 2012, the new foreign Managing Director added Materials/Production Planning to my charge. I was then in charge of QA dept, Warehouse/logistics, and Materials /Production Planning.

In June 2012, the Operations Manager resigned from the company, and I was assigned to take charge of the operations from then on.

Under my charge, I was responsible to manage the Stamping/Moulding Dept, Plating Dept, Toolroom, Maintenance, Materials/Production Planning, Warehouse/Logistics, and QA Dept. There was no increment or salary adjustment to my added responsibilities.

On September 2012, the foreign Managing Director brought in a foreign American Quality Manager, and from then I relinquished my QA Manager post. The rest of the job responsibilities still remained under my charge.

On 18th October 2012 (Thursday) at near to 5pm (the official working hour is up to 5.18pm), the foreign MD called me to his office, and issued me a termination letter stating  that I did not meet his expectations.

I was told to leave immediately, and that the HR Dept would hand me a cheque which comprised of current (up to 18th Oct) month salary plus 1 month salary in-lieu plus pro-rated 13th Mth AWS.

On 22nd October 2012 (Monday), the foreign Managing Director already got a new Operations Manager who joined the company on Monday 22nd October, just a lapse of one working day after dismissing me.

I felt that I had been “abused and used”. I totally felt that I have been unfairly dismissed.

There was no prior notice given to me nor  was  I given prior job performance feedback that I did not meet the required expectations.

Nothing was mentioned except being called up near the end of the working day at near to 5pm by the Managing Director, and being issued a termination letter to be immediately dismissed.

Please let me know whether my case is unfair dismissal, and whether there is a case for me to claim loss of employment. For till now, it is extremely very difficult for me to look for a similar job especially during this coming end of the year situation where very few companies are employing nor employees are leaving their jobs.

I look forward to your advice.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,



Hi David

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear of your predicament.
In Singapore, many executives are not cover under the Employment Act and thus they are not represented by any legislation.
Any employer can terminate the staff giving him one months’ notice as stipulated in the employment contract.
There is also no requirement given by the company to show proof that the employee underperforms or whether the staff has receive any proper counselling prior to his dismissal.
In Australia, staff will be given verbal and written warning and  clear goals to improve before they can be terminated.
This counselling process will last about 6 months before termination can take place.
Here, we do not have that process in place yet.
You can bring your case to MOM which has a arbitration unit in place for PMETs who earn $4500 and below.
They will try to arbitrate for you and your employer.
If your salary is $4500 and above, you have to seek your own legal recourse.
Personally, I feel that under our current legislation, you do not have a case.
They did what is contractually right,  paid you according to the contract and terminated you.
Is it possible for me to speak with you personally at my office sometimes next week?
I also seek your permission to post your mail on my blog so that others can learn from your experience.
Let me know if this is possible.
I can leave out your name/company to protect your identity.
Take care and stay positive.
We are here for you
Gilbert Goh
Number of View: 3740

Reader Feedback

15 Responses to “Engineer terminated unfairly by American boss without any valid reason”

  1. Sal says:

    This is the real world, these managers will try to bring in their own people (who they hired) and sack the old workers.As these people that they hired will feel obligated to the new boss for hiring them. Normally they should have give you some retrenchment package, at least can last you for some months. Be strong, life is getting tougher..try to rebounce back during this difficult time.

  2. jj@39 says:

    Hi David, do you have any appointment letters, payslips, documents or email hardcopy etc. to prove that you are promoted or assigned to various positions but w/o salary adjustment? If yes, sue the company & MD back at where its HQ was based.

    You also can lodge a complaint to MOM on this MD who has no Singapore official working permit or document of working here when he started working here.

  3. Sal says:

    What is the chances of suing a company and win in Spore???

  4. kala says:

    Try to complain, make a scene out of it and negotiate a retenchment package. a few months is still better than nothing.

  5. J Y says:

    Maybe the local Singaporean MD and OM were also terminated by the foreign MD. They might not tell you about this so as not to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Many people would just leave silently stoically. The foreign MD may see your “usable value” and thus you are the “last” to go after the others.

    Most people wouldn’t tell you the real reason they left unless you were in good terms with them. They should have warned you beforehand. Maybe there were signs of recruiting new staff to replace you like people coming for interviews, but you didn’t notice.

    Anyway, be grateful that they gave you extra 2 months pay to compensate you. Many people didn’t get any compensation when they were asked to leave unfairly.

  6. Anon says:

    “David”, you don’t have a case. What the company did is perfectly legal in S’pore. In fact the company FOLLOWED S’pore law to the letter.

    MOM will tell you that you are very lucky already, as the company even paid your 13th month prorated. Most companies in S’pore will not pay 13th month if you kena fired or even resigned. And you got payment immediate in the form of cheque. Many companies here will delay your last salary until deep into the next month.

    The ONLY OPTION you have to seek recourse is to challenge the termination in the company’s registered country — the US. There are 3 major hurdles:

    1. Many US companies separate their overseas operations as different legal entities due to tax reasons. I.e. the company operating in S’pore will be registered locally as a S’pore company. US laws & courts may say you were employed by S’porean company and not under any US laws.

    2. Even if the US courts and authorities recognise the company as being subject to US laws & regulations, you still need to be able to navigate thru their legal system and you usually need to fly to US to be there physically for various proceedings.

    3. If your salary is less than $15K/mth, then basically it’s not worth to pursue. As even the highly-competitive US lawyers will not want to take your case on a no-win-no-fee basis, even if you 100% can win. They won’t get enough $$$$ to compensate for their time & efforts even if you hand over 100% of your compensation.

    At the end of the day, did you vote for PAP during the good times, as you hoped the good times will always continue for you & your family? If so, then you deserve it.

  7. jj@39 says:

    Got promoted or assigned for higher position & entasked with greater responsibility but no wage increment for months. Promise you the increment but suddenly the director left the company. These are all signs that they want to cheat you.

    David, just go talk to a lawyer about your case & see what kind of advice that the lawyer can give you.

    David, every company has its trade secrets & sensitive information that doesn’t want others to know. You get what i mean?

  8. fib says:

    I think the local ex-MD looks more suspicious, sounds like she conciously tried to screw him bad with all that fake promotion and silly title change but no money.

    David is barking at the wrong tree, the local MD is the problem, not the American guy.

  9. jj@39 says:

    The local ex-MDcon conned ‘David’ to takeup more tasks, making him believing increment is on the way.

    Just like those HK movies where the senior ranking police officer told the undercover cop that he will be returning to the police force wearning the police badge & will receive a promotion soon after the triad boss got arrested. But in the end, the cop still has to continue to be a undercover cop as he has became a expert with undercover operation.

    Since it was the US MD who issued the termination letter then of course ‘David’ should go after him. As the local ex MD has already left the company, what can ‘David’ do to him?

  10. John Lim says:

    There’s no point in pursuing this case. David should not be giving in to the company in the 1st place when they overload him with new responsibilities. The next best thing to do is find another job.

  11. jj@39 says:

    Find another job & also seek legal advice from lawyer & MOM etc.

    100% confirm it is illegal & a crime for a foreigner who has no Singapore official working permit or document of working to start working in S’pore. The foreigner will be arrested & deported.

  12. biz42 says:

    Nothing new. I notice nowadays a lot of companies are inflating titles and giving out fake promotions all over the place to feed people’s ego so that they can save the actual money and yet get suckers like David to take up more work.

    I remember when I started work 20 years ago, a manager was like the head of a big department and part of the company senior team. They were paid like 15-20k monthly in today’s dollars. Now I see 4k+ people calling themselves managers and 8k+ people become directors and vice president. This tactic was started by US banks and now has spread to other companies and the entire civil service.

  13. jj@39 says:

    The boss or manager will say they’re giving you a chance to learn more & preparing you for bigger role. If you are persistent on the increment subject, they will either tell you the increment will come later maybe after you have prove yourself or they ask you to leave if you refuse to take up the new job scopes & responsibilities.

    Some companies will advertise job ads looking for jobseekers to fill up ___ executive, ___ engineer & ___ manager positions. But they maybe just willing to pay jobseekers only $1200-$1800! They try to pay employee as little as possible & want employee to do as many work as possible. They knew no or few S’poreans will take up the jobs so they try to hire foreigners.

  14. Moon says:

    ‘Bad.Companies.Collection.Sg.Failures’ in Facebook! 1st created in Singapore! No more quiet for Bad Companies! Click ‘Like’ if you’re not well-fed! Else, stop complaining!

  15. Sal says:

    For starters or unemployed just get the job first, six months down the road apply other jobs. Just to get experience for starter n to pay the bills for unemployed….survival.

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