I would like share with you and hopefully to your readers as well on my case
of unfair dismissal, lack of employee protection and the powerless MOM
After hearing much about what the Prime Minister and Labour Chief had said
about retraining the workers in the workforce, I was disappointed that many
of these measures targets at workers but not PMEs.
With the upcoming setup of the College of Professional and Continuing
Education (PaCE) by NTUC and NTU, we finally see some focus on the importance
of retraining PMEs. However there is still a strong lack of employee
protection from the government as well as the union especially for PMEs.
Since graduation, I had been working in a few US based consumer companies and
I recently joined the consumer goods division of a Japan based beauty company
as a Brand Executive.
I was excited and very much looked forward to embarking on this role.
I was offered a role on Friday evening, 15/4/16 at about 1810 to start work
on Monday, 18/4/16. As it was after office hours, I briefly found out about
the basic salary and the quantum for grooming and hp allowances as well as
the leave/MC entitlement and the 2 month notice period in the event of
resignation from the hiring manager.
On Monday, the HR manager told me that she could not prepare my contract as
the hiring manager had forgotten to bring my copies of certifications from
home. As I had to attend the upcoming APEC seminar held offsite, therefore I
could not sign the letter of acceptance till I return to office either on
Thursday or Friday that week.
On Friday morning 22/4/16, the hiring manager took back the folder containing
vital information about the brands that I will be managing. I thought she
just wanted to add more contents or wanted to reference the materials inside
so I handed it to her then continued to work on her assigned task.
To my dismay, on Friday noon, I was terminated and given 5 days salary. I
then realized that the dismissal/termination was planned but was not made
known to me because all confidential information was taken back from me in
the morning. Reasons cited from both the HR manager as well as the hiring
“I don’t think you gel with the team”
“I had hire many people before and I don’t think it will work”
“There is a lack of chemistry”
I was disappointed and felt unjust for the reasons provided for my
termination as I am only there for 5 days (with first day as office opening,
2 days offsite and another 1 day of brand meetings) and I needed time to get
used to the culture and organization. There were no other concrete reasons
provided such as absence without leave or misconduct that warrant my
Also, I strongly felt that they had made use of my ignorance of the HR
policies and employment act as well as the fact that no written contract was
signed. It made terminating me with immediate effect easy. From the verbal
offer on the phone, I understand that the notice period should be 2 months.
In the opening speech of the offsite conference, President/CEO talks about
the company’s Mission, Value, Way and he emphasize on the fact that the
company values all employees and talent and wants to retain and groom them
because employees are their best asset.
It is also in their Mission, Value, Way statement that they
“We respect the character and individuality of everyone in the work place,
in all their diversity, and strive to develop and grow together.”
“We strive to maintain a dialogue with our co-workers, and are committed to
their growth as well as our own.”
“We strive to conduct fair evaluations.”
“We work conscientiously and maintain a clear distinction between
professional and private matters.”
Clearly they went against what they preached as I felt I was not treated
fairly. My dismissal was more subjective than objective. The way they had
dismissed me is not in any manner professional as reasons quoted by them was
very subjective and weak. Moreover, there was no written employment contract
What made matter worst was when I wrote to Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on this
case, they asked me to book a session to see their advisor. The MOM advisor
first talked about the Key Employment Term that all employers have to issue
to employees when they come onboard starting 1 apr 16 and that MOM will not
be strictly enforcing this requirement for the time being. As a non HR
person, I had not heard about this new requirement. I told the advisor that
my employment starts after 1 apr but he was rather nonchalant about it.
Also, the MOM advisor was not empathetic about my situation despite me
stressing the point that I was being played out by my employer with no
contract and no written letter of official termination/dismissal. All he
could say was there is nothing they could do about it and it is unlikely that
the investigation team or the labour court can help me seek redress. I was
disappointed and upset and MOM is so powerless against incorrigible
employers. I was not offered any solutions and alternatives by MOM but only
with added stress all they could say was, please me more cautious in your
next employment (sounds like a sarcastic remark to me).
At such, I would like to urge the editors to look into reporting/publishing
my case so many more that had also been unfairly dismissed whether they are
workers or PMEs would step forward. Also at the same time, raise the
awareness of the public as well as union and government that there is a
strong lack of employee protection in Singapore and there is so much more
that can be improved on.