What are some Examples of Wrongful Dismissal in Singapore and What can I do about it?

What are some Examples of Wrongful Dismissal in Singapore and What can I do about it?

If your Singapore employer has terminated your employment without due cause, your dismissal may not be lawful under the Employment Act. While your employer has certain rights to terminate the employer-employee relationship, there are cases in which your termination may have been wrongful.

The scope for what constitutes wrongful dismissal is broad and even though it would be impossible to encapsulate every single situation of wrongful dismissal, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (“TADM”) provides guidelines and examples of what constitutes unfair dismissal in Singapore.

What is a Dismissal in Singapore?

A dismissal is defined as a termination of a contract of service between between an employer and an employee at the initiative of the employer, with or without notice and includes involuntary resignation of an employee if the employee can show that he/she did not resign voluntarily but was forced to do so.

What are Legitimate and Non-Wrongful Reasons for Dismissal in Singapore?

Valid reasons for an employer to dismiss an employee in Singapore include:

1. Misconduct

After due inquiry, a Singapore employer may dismiss an employee for misconduct. Examples of misconduct include insubordination, theft and dishonesty at work. The employer does not need to give notice for dismissal for misconduct.

2. Poor Performance

A Singapore employer can dismiss an employee for poor performance during his or her job. Particularly when there is documented proof of the employee not performing to the required standards, the employer may dismiss an employee for poor performance, provided notice is given.

3. Redundancy

If the employer is moving in a new direction and the employee’s role is no longer needed, the employer has excess manpower, or the scope of the employee’s role has changed, the Singapore employer may also dismiss an employee.

What are Wrongful Reasons for Dismissal in Singapore?

In accordance with the Tripartite Alliance guidelines, reasons for wrongful dismissal include:

1. Discrimination.

Discriminatory grounds can be based on age, race, religion, disability, marital status, etc.

2. Deprivation of benefits/entitlements.

A common example of this is an employer depriving an employee of her maternity benefits by dismissing her with notice after being informed about the employee’s pregnancy.

3. Punishing an employee for exercising his/her employment rights

Employees in Singapore are accorded rights under the Employment Act. Dismissals can be wrongful If employees are let go for filing a mediation request with TADM for unpaid salaries or declining to work overtime.

What Should You Do If You Feel You Have Been Wrongly Dismissed?

Generally, the first port of call is to read through your employment contract thoroughly to ascertain whether any provisions provide for your particular situation.

Ideally, you should attempt to resolve the matter amicably with your employer first. If this doesn’t work out, you may wish to speak with a lawyer regarding your situation. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to resolve your matter through mediation at the TADM instead of the Singapore Courts.

Mediation at the TADM has a high rate of success, and if you are unable to resolve the dispute during mediation, it is possible to file a claim with the Employment Claims Tribunal.

Filed under: Employment Law
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