PUTRAJAYA | The Court of Appeal has affirmed a High Court ruling that a dismissed employee who is asked to return to work with the same employer is only entitled to a maximum of 24 months in back wages for the period he or she was out of the job.
Lawyer T Thavalingam said a three-member bench chaired by Hanipah Farikullah held that the Second Schedule of the Industrial Court Act 1967, had capped such payments.
Thavalingam, who appeared for Novartis Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd, said the bench also dismissed the company’s appeal over the sacking of its former chief financial officer Leong Chee Kong in 2015, holding that it was wrongful.
The bench, however, ruled that the Industrial Court had erred in reinstating Leong to his former position. The other judges on the bench were Supang Lian and See Mee Chun.
The bench then remitted the matter to the Industrial Court to compute compensation due to Leong, in lieu of reinstatement.
Leong was sacked for misconduct on Jan 22, 2014, and was out of work for 58 months until the Industrial Court ruled that he should be reinstated.
On March 4, 2019, the then Industrial Court chairman Bernard John Kanny, in allowing Leong’s claim, said that the Second Schedule of the Act which restricted back wages to 24 months was not applicable when reinstatement is ruled.
Kanny ordered Novartis to pay Leong RM870,408 as full back wages for the 58 months and to reinstate him.