KUALA LUMPUR: The Industrial Court has ruled in favour of the former group financial controller Eric Boon Chuan Kit against his former employer Metronic Engineering Sdn Bhd for wrongful dismissal.
The Industrial Court chairman Augustine Anthony had found the Metronic Engineering, a unit of Metronic Global Bhd, had failed to prove the alleged misconducts.
“And it follows that the company had failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that the dismissal of the claimant is with just cause or excuse,” he said in the award which was handed down on Jan 31.
According to the facts of the case, Boon was appointed group financial controller on Oct 5, 2015 and was confirmed to his post on April 18, 2016, thus signaling the company was satisfied with his performance.
Due to a need for a special audit to be conducted upon the recommendation of Bursa Malaysia and the company’ auditor on matters relating to issues, Boon was asked to go on leave of absence during the special audit period by a letter dated May 4, 2017.
Boon was asked to go on leave of absence for about two months after he had completed the annual report for 2016 and submitted it to Bursa Malaysia at the end of April 2017.
He was then asked to go on extended leave of absence during the special audit period. He was then issued a show-cause letter on the June 29, 2017 with various allegations of misconducts which he denies ever committing.
Augustine said Boon gave his explanation to all the allegations levelled against him on July 1, 2017 however the company issued a letter of termination against the claimant on the July 11, 2017 without even taking into account his explanation given on July 1.
Despite various allegations against Boon, the company did not even conduct a due inquiry into the purported misconducts levelled against him.
Augustine said on the first allegation of misconduct of entering the office premises after working hours during the compulsory leave of absence this Court rules that this charge is baseless for the following grounds.
The two letters requiring Boon to be on the leave of absence dated May 4, 2017 and June 29, 2017 did not in any way prohibit Boon from being in the office.
On the second allegation of disclosing the company trade secrets or any information without prior sanction of lawful authority of his superiors, this court finds this charge baseless and without any merits.
“What trade secret and company information did the claimant disclose is not at all mentioned in the show cause letter. Surely the claimant cannot be kept in the dark without giving him precise details of the offensive disclosures,” Augustine said.
On the third allegation, Boon was faulted for the purported missing land titles which were for safe keeping in his room.
“What land titles that went missing? Surely the framer of the charge can in all reasonable mind offer some details of the land titles which went missing. To suggest certain land titles that went missing without even giving particulars of the titles raises serious questions as to the very existence of these land titles and how many of those titles that were found to be missing.
“This court finds that this alleged misconduct levelled against the claimant remains unproven,” Augustine said.
On the fourth allegation of misconduct of failing to submit financial monthly reports and quarterly reports on time, Augustine said: “The charge lacks particulars on which monthly and quarterly report that the claimant had failed to submit on time.”
He said Boon was on the one hand told to go on leave of absence and on the other hand he is accused of not preparing the monthly report for the month of May 2017 promptly.
"Certainly the company is scraping the bottom of the barrel to fault the claimant with no apparent reason whatsoever.
“This court finds that the company had failed to prove on the balance of probabilities the alleged misconducts of the claimant. And it follows that the company had failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that the dismissal of the claimant is with just cause or excuse,” he said.
Augustine said Boon was entitled for back wages in line with Section 30(6A) Industrial Relations Act 1967. The back wages were for 24 months after the deducting 30% from the maximum back wages that can be awarded.