Court awards ex-MDEC senior manager RM800,000 over unfair dismissal


© Provided by Free Malaysia Today The Industrial Court ruled that MDEC deliberately made moves to apply pressure on former senior general manager Thomas Kuruvilla. (File pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Industrial Court here has awarded about RM800,000 to a former senior manager of a government-linked company (GLC) over his unfair dismissal.

Court chairman Augustine Anthony said the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn (MDEC) failed to prove poor performance as grounds to remove Thomas Kuruvilla from employment.

Kuruvilla was awarded RM572,208 in back wages and another RM238,420 as compensation in lieu of reinstatement.

Anthony said the award was made after taking into account that Kuruvilla had no post dismissal earnings and he now remained unemployed.

The human resources minister referred the matter to the tribunal after Kuruvilla claimed he was dismissed by MDEC on May 15, 2018.

MDEC is mandated by the government to drive the contribution of the digital economy to the country and build a digital future for the nation.

Kuruvilla, represented by T M Varughese, commenced employment with the company on Sept 17, 2007 as senior manager for Organisation and Methods in the Organisational Development Division.

Until 2014, he consistently achieved his work performance by meeting the company’s expectations.

Anthony said based on all the available evidence, he found that the contents of a letter dated May 15, 2018 on poor performance of Kuruvilla did not reflect the actual circumstances during the second Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

“This court is not convinced that the claimant was given adequate time to accomplish the tasks assigned to him.

“This court is also not convinced that the company gave the claimant substantial assistance and support during the duration of the PIP,” he added in his 55-page verdict.

Anthony said there was evidence to support that the company, represented by Shariffullah Majeed and Amardeep Singh Toor, was not adhering to its own policy and practice when dealing with the claimant in matters of performance management.

“It is an act of victimisation of the claimant to place him in the PIP without a proper plan and the time frame for achieving the tasks in the PIP reduced,” he said.

He added that it was, therefore, unfair for the company to state that Kuruvilla failed to sufficiently improve his work performance despite the purported opportunity and warning given to him.

Anthony said Kuruvila was frequently transferred in less than four years and this was clear evidence of putting him under extreme pressure.

He said this had also created impediments and frustration in Kuruvilla’s performance.

“The cumulative conduct of the company was such that the claimant was certainly not aided to perform better but instead driven to cause deterioration of his performance,” Anthony said.

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