KUALA LUMPUR | The Industrial Court has awarded RM165,700 to a doctor’s former clinic assistant, stating her dismissal due to redundancy was without merit.
Court chairman Augustine Anthony, in allowing the claim filed by K Rasalechumi against Lourdes Medical Services Sdn Bhd, said the retrenchment last year was without cause or excuse.
“Based on the facts of this case and the evidence, the company was unable to show that the claimant’s position was redundant and that the job no longer exists,” he said in a 66-page award.
He ordered 14 months in back wages amounting to RM45,500 and RM120,250 as compensation in lieu of reinstatement as she had served her employer for 37 years.
The company operates a chain of medical clinics at various locations in Malaysia.
Rasalechumi, represented by S Vadivelu of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, commenced employment with the company as an aide nurse in January 1983.
In February 2018, she was designated as a clinic assistant with no changes to the terms and conditions of employment.
Anthony said the claimant had no known disciplinary issues or complaints of poor performance.
On April 1 last year, the company sent out a letter to Rasalechumi and three others, informing them that it had undertaken a rationalization exercise.
The management decided that it would not be feasible for the company to continue the business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anthony said the court was of the view that the alleged bona fide restructuring and reorganization of the company’s business that led to the retrenchment of the claimant was not convincing.
“The selection of the claimant for retrenchment due to redundancy, and the officers involved in the selection process also remains unclear and reveals unfair labor practices,” he added
He said Rasalechumi also willingly accepted job redesignation as a clinic assistant in 2018 and that somewhat shows that she had likely suffered a demotion.
The judge said the company portrayed her as suffering from health conditions but she was never alleged to have been a poor performer.
“The claimant continued to perform her duties with no known complaints from the company until she was unceremoniously ‘kicked out’ from her only source of livelihood,” he said.
Three other claimants, who worked with the company for seven, 13, and 19 years, also received back wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement but the quantum was not listed in the award.