Sacked employee who appealed given fair hearing

We wish to explain the handling of Mr Lim Chia Yeo's dismissal appeal (Poor coordination between agencies in employment dispute; July 7).

Mr Lim had been employed for 18 months when he was terminated on Feb 2.

As in his contract, his employer provided one month's salary in lieu of notice and a pro-rated annual wage supplement.

Though not obliged to, his employer allowed him to encash his unconsumed leave and gave him an ex gratia payment of two months' salary.

Mr Lim accepted payment but filed an unfair dismissal appeal with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Feb 14 and mediation began on March 2.

Mr Lim stated that the termination was to deprive him of his bonus. His employer disputed this, and provided evidence of Mr Lim's unsatisfactory work performance.

The Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) informed Mr Lim on March 5 that there was no clear evidence to substantiate his allegations of unfair dismissal.

He then requested that his termination be converted to a resignation.

His employer declined.

When this was conveyed to him on March 13, he raised a fresh allegation that his supervisor had made discriminatory remarks against him.

Notwithstanding TADM's assistance, Mr Lim informed TADM on March 21 that he wanted MOM to look into his termination.

Meanwhile, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) looked into his allegation of discrimination and found it to be unsubstantiated.

He raised new allegations and produced new evidence of discriminatory employment practices on April 12 and June 18.

MOM considered these and informed him on June 29 that his appeal was dismissed.

Cases can be concluded expeditiously if they are straightforward and evidence is forthcoming. Most are concluded within three months.

Mr Lim surfaced new allegations and evidence when the dispute resolution process was well under way, thereby prolonging it to five months.

About 350 employees seek MOM's help for wrongful dismissals annually. About half these cases are valid and have resulted in compensation to the employee after TADM/MOM intervention. The rest are usually withdrawn or unsubstantiated.

Mr Lim's suggestion to lodge appeals online is something TADM is already developing and will be made available next year.

Then Yee Thoong

Divisional Director

Labour Relations and Workplaces Division

Ministry of Manpower

Roslyn Ten

General Manager

Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices

Felix Ong

General Manager

Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management