PUTRAJAYA | The Court of Appeal has ruled that a former insurance company executive was constructively dismissed after he was downgraded in ranking seven years ago.
Judge Lee Heng Cheong said the bench was of the opinion that Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd’s decision to “regrade” Ng Teck Fay from his post as assistant general manager (Grade 3) to senior manager (Grade 4) in a restructuring exercise amounted to a breach of Ng’s employment contract.
He said this entitled Ng to deem himself constructively dismissed despite his acceptance of the company’s decision.
The judge said that as the assistant general manager, Ng was the head of the Business Unit, Family, Group, and Medical Claims.
When Ng was regraded and demoted, he said, the employer took away the medical claims administration from his original scope of responsibilities and gave it to Sharon Ang, who had just been employed.
“This resulted in the appellant (Ng) having lesser responsibilities. Further, when the appellant was demoted to senior manager, the company took away one deputy manager and one assistant manager from reporting to him,” Lee said in the 23-page judgment made available this week.
Judges Lau Bee Lan and Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak were the other two judges who heard the appeal.
Lee said the benefits enjoyed by Ng were also reduced because of his demotion.
He said the Industrial Court chairman and the High Court had failed to consider that an employee cannot be demoted, “regraded or whatever name it is called”, to a post which
he never held before.
“We find that the appellant, in this case, had succeeded in proving that his regrading and demotion was a breach of his contract of employment and that he had correctly treated such regrading and dismissal as constructive dismissal,” he said.
He said the bench found merits in the appeal which warrants appellate intervention and the appeal was allowed with costs of RM15,000.
The bench allowed the appeal for judicial review against the High Court decision and also ordered the Industrial Court award to be quashed.
It ordered the Industrial Court to hear the case and to award the appropriate remedies sought by Ng.
Ng commenced his employment on April 11, 2008, as an assistant general manager and his last-drawn monthly salary were RM17,150.