Category Archives: What Will You Do?

Deduction of Salary for Damaging Company Properties

In the course of employment, an employee accidentally broke a vase bought by the company for “Feng Shui” purposes while doing his cleaning duties. The value of the vase stood at $10,000, and it was instructed to deduct the amount from the employee’s salary. As the employee earned $2,300 a month, they planned to recover the full amount in installments. The question is, can they do that?

At a moment, I was thinking what is the difference between company properties and company goods. I would say company goods are items that are to be sold, or given to clients, whereas company properties, which can also include the former, include also items that are considered assets that are meant to be used by the company itself?

As far as I interpret the terms in the Employment Act, if the employee is covered, it might not be legal (under the Act) to recover the amount. It is mentioned that we can deduct if – due to negligence – the employee damaged / lost the company goods entrusted expressly to him, amount to be caped at 25% of the employee’s salary. Prior to the deduction, the employee must be given an opportunity to raise his cause against it.

Am coming from the point that the vase is a company property, and not a good. Further, even if it is arguable that he shall be responsible, the amount to recover must be within the cap, and in 1 lump sum payment – recovering in installments is not allowed.

What do you think?

Reference:
EA Statute (Part III, Section 27(1b)

Forging of Medical Certificate. What will you do?

Scenario

One of the employee has been found to have forged her medical certificate, after verification was done with the clinic. Apparently she had included 1 more day of Medical Leave for herself (changing ‘5’ to ‘6’). After the evidence was presented, the staff finally admitted to it.

What I will do

Under the Penal Code of Singapore, forging for the purpose of cheating is punishable.
She forged her medical certificate so that she can enjoy a “free” day off. To me, that is more than cheating. That is also harming the interest of the organization for 1) the organization had incurred the cost of 1 day of salary and also 2) incurring unnecessary operational costs involved for covering her duties of work.

Simply anything that brushes with the law, Dismissal should be the only option.
I would go against the idea of informing the police as I felt that the losses the company had incurred are minimal, and we could take it as giving the employee a 2nd chance as well.

Do you agree? If not, what will you do?

Disciplinary Action for Employee having Extramarital Affair

Scenario

An employee was found to have an extramarital affair by his supervisor, and had surfaced to HR for opinion. This surfaced when the mistress came to look for him. One of our HR Rep raised the alarm to her supervisor and shared with all of us, suggesting that a Warning Letter must be issued.

What I think

Firstly, there is no law stating that it is illegal to commit Adultery. Secondly, our Company does not have a Code of Conduct that states one must be faithful to his / her other half (I doubt any companies will have that). Yes, there is a moral issue (at least I felt that way), but it does not warrant any Disciplinary Action.

Do you agree? If not, what will you do?

Workplace Harassment. What is your advice?

Firstly, I would like to thank one of my followers for sharing this story with me. I think it will be good for me to share it over here for further discussion. Here goes:

Scenario

One day, during a secondary school gathering, my friend, Jane (not her real name), shared how she was forced to resign from her ex-company.

She claimed that her daily movements were being monitored by her supervisor. These include the time she reaches office, goes for lunch, and even the duration of her toilet breaks! This started when she was 1 hour late for work one day, due to traffic jam. This further upset her when she realised that her colleagues started to monitor her movements on behalf of their supervisor when the latter was not in office. She had approached HR Department for assistance, but no action was being done. However, her supervisor eventually got the wind of it and forced her to sign on the dotted line to resign from service.

She is asking if there are any possible solutions out of this?

My advice

Such relates to Stalking, which can be a form of Workplace Harassment.

  1. If she is still with the company (turn back time), and HR is not helping, she should report to Top Management about this, taking notes on the dates / days / time of the stalking. If the company has a Whistle Blower Platform, she should report accordingly
  2. As this could amount to Workplace Harassment, she should report to the Police to seek redress, as Workplace Harassment is an offence under Protection from Harassment Act (POHA)
  3. If she is financially stable (very stable), she can sue under Common Law for damages (psychological damages as well)
  4. No matter what her options are, she should resign as well, as when even your colleagues are not on your side, what is the point of staying?

What is your advice?

Company Intend to Dismiss Employee Suspected for Drug Offence

Scenario

My superior asked for my opinion on their intention to dismiss an employee who has been detained by the authorities on the suspicion for Drug Offence. He has been detained for similar offence before but there is no prosecution and he was released thereafter.

What I did

This does not justify for dismissal. The key word is “suspicion”, and he could be innocent. He did nothing wrong in the eyes of the law. I disagree on dismissing the employee. However, as there are concerns that he might have drugs in his possession and could pose danger to our client’s customers, I would suggest transferring him out to another suitable area till he has been cleared by the authorities.

If it was you, what will you do?

Company refuses to submit CPF Contributions for a “Special Employee”

Scenario

Instructions is given to HR by the Chairman to exempt CPF Contributions for a particular staff who was found to be close to the former. This case is not under my charge but I thought to myself: “It could be me one day, and how would I react?”

What I will do

1. Highlight the implications of her actions – legal issue and consequences. No doubt it will be a fight against the Emperor but it is something that absolutely cannot be compromised. Of course, she might already knew it is illegal (I mean, for her position, she should right?) and therefore might not buy it and force HR to proceed. In that case, will proceed to Step 2.

2. Inform superior via email (black and white) informing the legal noncompliance we are having and had explained my stand according (as a form of protecting myself)

3. Proceed though its illegal

Yes it is illegal, but the boss has the final say. I believe I had done my due diligence. There are times we couldn’t do the right thing, but we are definitely obliged to advise (or warn).

If it was you, what will you do?