PUTRAJAYA| The Court of Appeal has affirmed the awarding of full back wages of about RM145,000 to a former senior executive of a construction company who was constructively dismissed after she refused a transfer due to her pregnancy. Judge M Nantha Balan, who delivered the oral judgment, said V Savithri had evidence to show that she was not employed after her termination by Eversendai Constructions (M) Sdn Bhd. “Her evidence was not challenged nor was evidence produced by the company that she was employed (after her termination),” he said in dismissing an appeal by the Rawang-based firm.
Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil chaired the bench while the other judge was Azman Abdullah. The decision was delivered after an online hearing.
Savithri, who joined the company in October 2015, became pregnant in April 2017. Two months later, the company served her a transfer order to work in an oil and gas construction yard in Pengerang, Johor, which she refused. Savithri also provided a supporting letter from a doctor stating that she was unfit to be transferred to a site project as exposure to radiation could be harmful to her unborn baby. In August, the company said it was offering a mutual separation scheme (MSS) package and that it was best she left the company, since she was unwilling to be relocated. She finally left the company upon being forced to accept the MSS package. She then filed an action for constructive dismissal.
In 2018, the Industrial Court found that the company terminated her constructively without just cause or excuse but back wages were scaled down to 70% as Savithri failed to prove she was not gainfully employed after termination.
She received about RM30,000. Last year, Savithri filed a judicial review at the Ipoh High Court which ordered that she was to receive full back wages of 24 months amounting to RM144,200. Lawyer Balakrishna Balaravi Pillai represented Savithri while S Guna Segaran appeared for the company.