Court orders 30% deduction in back pay for 17 sacked employees

Bloomberg pic.

PETALING JAYA: The High Court today ordered another 30% deduction in back pay for 17 ex-employees of two auto parts manufacturing companies found guilty of misconduct.

Judge Azizah Nawawi, in her ruling, said the deduction was necessary as the workers had contributed to the misconduct.

The judge in the judicial review application by the employers, however, refused to quash the award made by the Industrial Court last year.

“The award by the tribunal is maintained as the dismissal was harsh,” she said.

But Azizah allowed for the dismissal of the group leader Rusaini Ramli as he was absent from work for four days.

This means, he will not get any compensation.

Lawyer R Chandra Segaran appeared for the workers while N Sivabalah and Raymond T C Low appeared for the companies.

The then Industrial Court chairman, Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, last year found the punishment of dismissal was too severe but he had only ordered a 10% deduction from the workers’ back pay.

They were expected to receive between RM24,000 and RM94,000 each in backdated wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement.

A domestic inquiry was held after the managements of Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (M) Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom (M) Sdn Bhd discovered a video recording that was uploaded on YouTube.

Both companies, subsidiaries of DRB-Hicom Group based in Pekan, Pahang, said the video had the potential to affect their reputation.

The recording revealed that the 18 claimants had on May 3, 2013, attended a workers’ manifesto handing-over ceremony to a PAS candidate, who was contesting the Peramu Jaya state seat within the Pekan parliamentary seat, in the 2013 general election.

Some of the 17 claimants were wearing work uniforms with logos of their companies.

Rusaini was accused of leading the group in handing over the memorandum to the candidate.

They were charged with affecting the image of their companies and using outside influence to meet their industrial demand for higher wages and a better work environment.

Dusuki said the employers had proven their cases on the balance of probabilities but it did not warrant dismissal from employment.

“The court is entitled to substitute the punishment which it finds to be disproportionate to the misconduct,” he had said in the 60-page award.

Dusuki said dismissal was not appropriate after taking into account that most of the workers had served their employers for 20 years.

He also said sending them to work with their previous employers was not feasible in the interest of industrial harmony.