October 10, 2012
By : V. Anbalagan |

Appeal court quashes RM775K award to ex-employee

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has quashed a RM775,000 Industrial Court award given to a former country manager who claimed unfair dismissal as a result of retrenchment.

A three-man bench led by Datuk Hishamudin Mohd Yunus said there was merit in the appeal by the employer, Equant Integration Services Sdn Bhd.

"We hereby set aside the Industrial Court award and the judgment of the High Court," he said. No grounds were given for allowing the appeal.  
The company, represented by Lim Heng Seng, was also awarded RM5,000 in costs. Lim in his submission said once a retrenchment was proven to be bona fide, the Industrial Court must rule that the termination was fair.
Wong Wai Hung was retrenched in 2001 due to a merger between Equant Group and Global One. Since Wong had worked for only 11 months, his employer paid him RM96,894 in retrenchment benefits.
However, he filed a complaint with the Industrial Relations Department that he was unfairly dismissed. Last year, the Industrial Court ruled that the termination was fair but went on to say that the dismissal was without just cause for failure to adhere to the principles contained in the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony.
Wong, represented by Anand Ponnudurai, claimed that he was not consulted, given early notice of being retrenched, was treated in a shabby manner and the severance payment of three months was inadequate.
The Industrial Court awarded about RM775,000 in 24-month back wages but went on to deduct about RM165,000 in post dismissal earning and RM96,000 in retrenchment benefits paid earlier.
The employer was ordered to pay the balance of RM511,000. The company filed a judicial review application in the High Court but it was quashed.