Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday November 1st 2014

General manager unfairly dismissed and seeking legal advice

 We have recently received alot of emails from readers who were unfairly dismissed from their jobs. Some of the letters  are posted on this blog site.

Singapore is one unique first world economy which practises third world labour legislation and allows it’s workers to be bullied and ill-treated.

Unfair dismissal can be emotionally damaging especially for those who have put in many years at the company.

There are still no proper  legislations  helping companies to administer career coaching services  to those executives who are seen as poor performers.

Many employers use performance as one easy way to dismiss their executives – often only paying them one month’s saalry or whatever that is spelled out in their  employment contract in order to save on retrenchment benefits.

Many MNCs prefer to base their regional HQs in Singapore as it is a cheap labour resource centre with minimal labour protection for the workers.

Employers can hire and fire indiscriminately and moving forward, this will not augur well for our country especially when we want to entice many foreign talents to our shore.

We have featured one such unfair dismissal case here and hope that fronm now on, our authorities will look closely into providing adequate labour protection to our PMEs.

We are after all  human beings with feelings and not machines…

*******************

Transitioning: Thanks for taking time Edmund  to fill up this questionaire on unfair dismissal, can you first please state your educational qualifications, work experience, age and marital status?

  • Edmund: Age: 49
    Marital Status: Married
    Work Experience: 20 years of work experience in the IT field
    Education: Masters degree in computer science

Transitioning: You have told me before that you were unfairly dismissed from your company, can you provide more details on this matter?

Edmund: I was the General Manager of company X. In early September 2012, I was told that company X will be “merged” and become a division in sister company Y on 1 October 2012. All employees in company X will be re-employed with company Y. By 1 October 2012, all my employees were given new employment contracts with the sister company Y, except me. When I asked my boss about it, he said that he will terminate my employment without cause.

Transitioning: Why do you think you are unfairly dismissed? Were there any clear evidences of unfair dismissal?

Edmund: In substance, the GM position was eliminated in the merged company Y as they did not hire a replacement for me.

However, company X exercised a clause in my employment contract to terminate me without cause by giving me salary-in-lieu of notice.

In so doing, company Y deprived me of redundancy benefits.

Transitioning: How do you think the situation can be better handled by your HR or boss?

Edmund: My boss should have been fair and treated this as redundancy rather than disguising it as termination without cause.

Transitioning: Do you think that our PMEs should be properly career counselled over time with clear achievable goals so that any eventual dismissal is better managed?

Edmund: If the PME has performance issues, he should be put on a performance improvement plan and counselled so that the PME is given an opportunity to improve.

Transitioning: Have you seek recourse from MOM or TAFEP (Fair Employment Act) and what are their advice for you? Is it effective?

Edmund: I approached MOM but they are unable to assist as I am not covered under the Employment Act. The MOM officer also does not want to give any advice on where I should go for to seek legal assistance. I was basically left on my own.

Also, the MOM e-Appointment system for consultation on employment matters does not allow you to make an appointment of you are not covered under the Employment Act.

Transitioning: How you also seek your own personal legal recourse? Is it effective?

Edmund: I have consulted two lawyers to seek legal advice on my rights. The advice given is fairly general in nature, somewhat helpful but nothing specific. The cost of consultation is $200 per hour. I spent 2 hours in consultation.

Transitioning: Do you think that we should set up an independent Ombudsman here so that any contractual dispute can be handled properly without prejudice?

Edmund: Yes, as it will provide a platform for someone like me to resolve employment contract issues.

Transitioning: Coming back to your unfair dismissal case, how has it affects you emotionally? Did you seek any counselling or coaching from a professional over this matter?

Edmund: I am coping fine regarding the unfair dismissal. At the present moment, I’m exploring other job opportunities.

Transitioning: Lastly, what advice will you provide to those who are unfairly dismissed?

Edmund: Make sure you keep records of all discussions and documents regarding the dismissal. Where feasible, you should have a third party to sit in the meeting where your performance and the dismissal is discussed.

Thanks and end of interview

Reader Feedback

8 Responses to “General manager unfairly dismissed and seeking legal advice”

  1. Anon says:

    Edmund,

    I feel sorry for what happened to you.

    Having said that, you were a General Manager so you were considered as part of the very few senior management in your ex-company.

    In the course of work as part of senior management, you were comfortably in your job, you must have thought that your job was very safe. As you were highly paid and lived a comfortable life, you could not feel the struggling and suffering of ordinary Singaporeans who are trying very hard to find reasonable jobs with reasonable pays. Some of the unlucky Singaporeans have to suffer the painful experience of being jobless over long period.

    As part of senior management, you definitely had involved in the hiring and interviewing of potential staffs. When you were involved in the hiring process, you were biased against Singaporeans. You propagated the hiring of foreigners as you wanted to hire low cost foreigners to save money for your ex-company. This would contribute to higher profit for your ex-company and therefore higher salary and bonus for yourself.

    So, you were very selfish and you only thought about yourself only. You just thought like the boss of your ex-company who has no hesitation to squeeze the staffs to the full extent.

    As you had cultivated the culture of hiring foreigners in your ex-company, the culture of hiring foreigners in your ex-company was internalized into the company. You had contribute a large part to this culture of hiring foreigners within your ex-company.

    In time to come, your boss considered you to be a highly paid Singaporean. Under the influence of the culture of hiring foreigners within your ex-company, your boss began to search for potential foreign candidate to replace you. When your boss found the cheaper foreigner whom your boss like, your boss had no hesitation to replace you under the influence of the culture of hiring cheaper foreigners within your ex-company; this culture being propagated by you, the General Manager.

    Now, you had lost your job as General Manager. You are asking for Singaporeans to pity and help you.
    How can you do that?
    You had contribute to the suffering of Singaporeans by rejecting Singaporean applicants for jobs in your ex-company when you were the highly paid General Manager.

    Edmund, while I feel sorry for you, I cannot feel that you deserve any assistance.
    Whatever happened to you is what you had done to the ordinary Singaporeans over the years when you were the General Manager.

  2. anon says:

    Like I always said, S’pore is the MOST BUSINESS-FRIENDLY in the world especially with regard to hire & fire workers.

    In S’pore it is perfectly legal to fire anybody for no reason as long as give you 1 month’s notice, or pay you 1 month pay and fire you on the spot. This clause is treated as NORMAL in S’pore and fully allowed in all offers of employment / employment letters / employment contracts.

    The zero protection of laws for PMEs is equivalent to 3rd world countries like Zimbabwe and Congo, where your life is cheap and companies can fire you without batting an eyelid.

    And lastly, the former GM need to do self-reflection — during the good times, did he keep on voting for PAPies, hoping that the good times will always continue, and his property will always go up in price?? If yes, then he deserve it coz what goes around comes around. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. You’re fully experiencing the results of PAPies policies for the past 30 years.

  3. Sal says:

    Is it a karma? As a GM, you should know about your future when your company going to merge with another company. By then you should have plan a “golden handshake” for yourself. Anyway you should have the experience and qualification to survive in this globalization city….Good Luck

  4. Colin says:

    The company did not do well and merge with the sister company. The higher management will be the chopping head if this happens. Its no point in legal consultation in Singapore as the chance of winning is like finding a needle in deep sea. Good luck for your law suit against your old company.

  5. James says:

    Hi,
    Total agree with Anon,

    you can call this karma!! What goes around will come around…!! no points crying and complaining.

    Time to take up taxi license Edmund!!.

    Maybe i recommend you to take up Fire Safety Manager.

  6. Dico says:

    Yup, these Senior Management positions don’t give a hoot to those whom they have retrenched. Good to let them know how it feels to be treated like shit.

  7. Moon says:

    Government didn’t help us get jobs instantly!

    Hypocrites Show! 假假做个样!
    http://moonlifeonearth.blogspot.sg/2012/12/hypocrites-show.html

  8. Moon says:

    Government didn’t help us get jobs instantly!

    Hypocrites Show! 假假做个样!
    http://moonlifeonearth.blogspot.sg/2012/12/hypocrites-show.html
    Very common now!

Leave a Reply