KUALA LUMPUR: A former clerk with a local financial institution paid dearly for sexually harassing a female colleague during a fire drill four years ago, after the incident was captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV).
Industrial Court chairman Ahmad Zakhi Daud rejected Azhar Atan’s claim of unfair dismissal by his employer, Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF), stating that he was dismissed with just cause.
“The proven misconduct constitutes just cause or excuse for the dismissal as provided under Section 15.5(b) of the company’s group human resources policy,” he said in a 13-page award delivered yesterday.
The company issued a show cause letter to Azhar for alleged misconduct after he was accused of touching a female colleague inappropriately when they were at the back of a staircase in Menara MIDF during a fire drill on Oct 30, 2019.
Dissatisfied with his response, a domestic inquiry panel was set up by MIDF to inquire into the incident. It found the claimant guilty of inappropriately touching his victim. As a result, the claimant was sacked on Dec 3, 2019.
Zakhi said the inquiry did not breach natural justice. He also held that the incident amounted to misconduct according to company policy.
He noted that the first witness G Vasuthevan testified that he viewed the CCTV recordings and saw Azhar touching the victim.
Another witness, Mastura Mukhlis, testified that the victim confided in her about the incident and said she was sad about what had happened.
The victim also gave evidence in court, testifying that Azhar touched her body four times against her will when they were walking down the staircase during the drill.
“She was scared during the incident because just the two of them (were) present,” Zakihi said.
Azhar had been with the bank since 2004 and his last drawn salary was RM5,121.
Lawyer Suharin Sulaiman Siew appeared for Azhar, while T Thavalingam and Farah Dini Zaini represented MIDF.