Private hospital loses wrongful dismissal case
Arfa’eza A Aziz
May 4, 05 11:55am
A senior administrator of a private hospital who was asked to leave by the back door after being served a retrenchment notice in 1999 has been awarded a total of RM192,000 of back wages for wrongful dismissal.
Industrial Court chairperson Susila Sithamparam not only ordered Subang Jaya Medical Centre to pay Jacob George the back wages within a month, but also to reinstate him.
George had held the post of administrator in the hospital’s communications and community relations department.
“The court ordered that the claimant (George) to be reinstated to a suitable position in the company at his last drawn salary (of RM8,000 per month) without any loss of seniority or benefits on or before June 1, 2005,” said Susila in the award handed down on April 26.
A copy of the document was made available to malaysiakini.
During the hearing, George had testified that on Sept 20, 1999 he was handed a letter of retrenchment dated Oct 19, 1999 by the hospital’s executive director Dr Jacob Thomas.
Subsequently, director of nursing and support services Betty Teh and one Zanariah Ahmad - to whom he had confided his fear of losing his job months earlier - entered the office.
Zanariah told him to hand over his keys, identification card and to remove his personal belongings within an hour, while Teh told him to leave by the back door.
George - now the president of Consumer Association of Subang and Shah Alam - said he was shocked, devastated and felt betrayed.
Claim ‘not proved’
In declaring that George’s retrenchment was mala fide (done in bad faith), Suseela stated in the award that the hospital had failed to prove its contention that his post was abolished to save costs.
It also failed to prove its other claim that George’s post became redundant when the department was abolished.
The court held that the dismissal of the claimant was without just cause or excuse, said Suseela in the document.
She said that the circumstances surrounding George’s departure on his last day was “dictatorial, rude and offensive”.
“The feeling of betrayal was genuine as he (George) had relied on his good relations with the witness (Thomas) executive director and Zanariah Ahmad.
“The fact that the witness (Thomas) had told him one month (earlier) that the company was willing to pay compensation of 12 months if he resigned did not lessen the blow he felt when he received the letter of retrenchment.”