PETALING JAYA | A probationer who worked two months for a transport services company was awarded RM43,200 in back wages by the Industrial Court for constructive dismissal as the employer had failed to pay his salary.
Industrial Court chairman K Rajeswari said although I Gauthaman Thevar had asked for reinstatement, she felt it was not the appropriate remedy as the company’s managing director, S Mahindren, had assaulted him.
“His safety may be compromised if he is reinstated. As such, the court will order monetary compensation instead,” she said in her 15-page award.
Rajeswari said the court could only award 12 months’ back wages as that is the maximum compensation that may be ordered pursuant to the Second Schedule of the Industrial Relations Act.
Gauthaman had represented himself while JSAE Resources Sdn Bhd was unrepresented, leading to the court to hear the claimant’s case ex-parte pursuant to its powers under Section 29(d) of the Act.
Gauthaman, who was appointed as operations executive, worked for JSAE with a monthly salary of RM3,000 with allowances amounting to RM600. He left the company on Sept 14, 2019.
Facts revealed that the claimant, on Sept 20, 2019, had followed up with Mahindren with regards to his unpaid August salary but his superior dared him to lodge a report with the authorities.
The following day, Mahindren had gone to the claimant’s residence and there Gauthaman was pushed and physically punched in the chest by the managing director.
The claimant reported the trespass and assault to the police but no action was taken.
Rajeswari said it was trite law that withholding employees’ salaries when they become due or an unjustified delay in paying the agreed remuneration to employees constituted a fundamental breach of an employment contract.
“So is the act of unreasonably withholding payment of properly incurred monetary claims. Such acts destroy the very foundation of the employment relationship.”
She said the claimant was abused by the managing director for asking for his overdue salary and monies which he had expended out-of-pocket for the company. These were incurred from the purchase of safety equipment for the company’s workers.
She said Mahindren’s impudence was shocking to say the least and this further went to show that the company had little respect for its workers and their rights, as enshrined in the country’s laws.