KUALA LUMPUR | A former chief operating officer and executive director of Konsortium Transnasional Bhd has been awarded nearly RM2.5mil for unjust dismissal.
The amount is believed to be one of the highest in recent times for backwages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement.
Apart from this sum, the company is to pay another RM442,000 for Employees Provident Fund contribution.
Industrial Court chairman Fredrick Indran XA Nicholas ordered that the amount be paid to Tengku Mohd Hasmadi Tengku Hashim within the next six weeks.
According to the court award, Tengku Mohd Hasmadi claimed constructive dismissal from April 1, 2015, when, upon returning from a stint of annual leave he discovered that part of his job and duties were taken over by Muhammad Hariz Mohd Nadzmi, the son of Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, the company’s chairman.
Tengku Mohd Hasmadi felt not only humiliated but that the move also undermined his position and authority as the COO and executive director.
Prior to the said measures, Tengku Mohd Hasmadi was solely responsible for the group operations and the group support services.
He oversaw 10 subsidiaries within the group which comprised about 3,000 employees.
He contended that the purported “restructuring”, which was to take effect from April 1, 2015, was in fact the rearrangement of only his roles and responsibilities, and no one else, and done without any notice, consultation or approval by him.
“This exercise removed a considerable portion of the claimant’s responsibilities, which was handed over to the company chairman’s son – a 27-year-old at the time who, according to the claimant, had not even completed his studies,” Fredrick wrote in the award.
The company denied the contention and asserted that the restructuring was real.
The company said it even offered to restore two departments to be under Tengku Mohd Hasmadi to quell his dissatisfaction.
But it was to no avail. Tengku Mohd Hasmadi refused to report back to work as instructed while maintaining that the breach had not in fact been remedied.
According to the award, Mohd Nadzmi testified in court that this exercise was his “succession plan” for what he perceived to be his company, notwithstanding that it was in fact a public listed company.
The court held that the restructuring of Tengku Mohd Hasmadi’s duties and responsibilities was almost by way of an ambush.
“The company abdicated its responsibility to adequately address the issue, or indeed address it at all effectively, in order to right the situation in a fair and rational manner.
“All that was actually said in this court was that the organisational chart was readjusted for the third time to seemingly, but not actually put the claimant back into his original position.
“In the whole scheme of things in this case, it certainly comes across as a colourable exercise of managerial authority and is clearly tainted by unfair labour practice,” said Fredrick, ruling the dismissal as unfair.