KUALA LUMPUR: An executive who groped a customer service clerk’s breast was deemed to have been fairly dismissed for sexual harassment at the workplace, an Industrial Court held.
Zulkifflee Jusoh, 41, was sacked by Etiqa Takaful Bhd on Nov 18, 2011 following the incident that took place in November 2010. It happened just before lunchtime.
He groped her right breast while she was alone, typing at her workstation in an administration room of Etiqa Insurance & Takaful’s branch in Kota Baru, Kelantan.
Zulkifflee left when the 36-year-old woman screamed. She then narrated the incident to her colleagues.
Zulkifflee was suspended from service before an internal disciplinary inquiry, held for three days from Oct 4, 2011, found him guilty of sexual harassment.
Zulkifflee started his work with Takaful Nasional Sdn Bhd (later known as Etiqa Takaful Bhd) in Kota Baru on July 16, 2005. His last drawn salary was RM4,735.
Following his dismissal, he filed a complaint with the Human Resources Ministry to appeal for reinstatement without any loss of backdated salary and other benefits.
The ministry passed the matter to the court on Sept 25, 2012 in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act 1967.
Datuk T. Thavalingam, who acted for Etiqa Insurance, argued that the dismissal was based on reasonable grounds as Zulkifflee’s act qualified as serious misconduct.
Industrial Court chairman Eddie Yeo Soon Chye ruled that Zulkifflee committed sexual harassment against the clerk as she could clearly give the particulars of the incident.
Yeo held that the evidence and trustworthiness of the clerk and her 37-year-old colleague could not be challenged and were sufficient to prove Zulkifflee’s act of misconduct.
In a 31-page award, dated July 23, Yeo said that the executive had also failed to adhere to the company’s code of practice on the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“This court concluded that his dismissal is based on fair reasons,” Yeo said in rejecting the case, adding that the decision was made according to equity, good conscience and substantial merits of the case.