I finally determine to write this article, because I find it useful for people to know what it is expected for the preparation of their possible labour cases. The reason for that I was disappointed by the fact that some employees come to ask for my assistance without much support of solid proof or evidence on hand from time to time.
My encounter with the issue of labour dispute has been getting intensified since the past few years, which I assume it is partially caused by the global economy downturn which leads to more cost-cutting, heavier workload and increasing employer's expectation.
Document your workflow each day
Many employees find it very hard to fight against their employers for constructive dismissal, becuase the increased workload is somewhat very hard to be quantified. Furthermore, the recent demand in the standard of job responsibilites has became higher in almost all jobs across various fields compared to few years back.
First of all, let's me explain the meaning of "constructive dismissal". It means that the employer does not explicitly dismiss an employee; but to make a fundamental change to the employment agreement without providing reasons or explaining consequences of rejecting the change.
Today, I would like to specifically talk about the "constructive dismissal" with respect to unreasonable increased or/and changing duties, of which the job becomes much more stressful as a result of increased tasks. Keep in mind that I am not talking about covering someone's else tasks temporarily while on holiday in here.
Here are some approaches that an employee can take to gather his/her proof:
- To make reference to the assigned job duites in the signed employment agreement;
- To gather the job description of the similar post in the industry (if sometime there is no signed employment contract/ no job responsibility stated in the contract);
- To document everyday tasks (its nature & numbers), and average time to be spent on each task (state the reason if certain task requires more time than the other) as to show the complete workflow each day;
- if possible, to show the documented workflow before and after in order to demonstrate the change is significantly unreasonable for any average person/employee;
- To send the employer an email specifying what the major job duties of the position, and what the unreasonable increased workloads have been added recently for the future record.
The bottom line is to determine whether the increased workload is reasonable to an average employee (Simply put--- the majority), or whether this is what an average employee normally can handle! There may be a good case if the employee can prove that they have worked intensively and continously for all day usually without reasonable time to take any break.
Copies of your previous and existing Performance Appraisal
Our current labour law justifies the dismissal with cause if for poor job performance (but keep in mind that there is a special procedure to be followed before this dismissal). However, there may also be a possibility of demanding and increasing employer's expectation especially during the time of recession.
A labour dispute is usually arising because of the gap between the expectations of the employer and the employee.
My suggestion is to initiate a constructive conversation with the employer to solve the problem or narrow the gap of both parties' expectations. If the employee doesn't agree with the performance appraisal given by the employer, remember do not sign anything to confirm the employer's comment. Keep a copy of your performance appraisal. If no copy is provided, the employee can send an email or text to the employer, stating what he or she agrees, or disagree during that conversation for the record.
Saving up any written or/and email/text communication
The employee can save up any email communication between you and the employer regarding to the labour dispute arising. In fact, the employee can also document the oral conversation by sending the employer an email or text message, like "As per our conversation dated on.........., we discuss.............." for your own record in the future.
Recording if necessary
I have to admit that it is harder to find your co-worker as your witness these days compared to before, since they may worry about losing their jobs (although our current law do have a reprisal law for protection). Although you can summon them for the trial, I believe that the witness will be on the most advantage of your case when they are willing to do so.
When necessary, it is not illegal to record your own conversation with your boss, even if you do not have his or her consent, which may serve as your evidence in the case. However, it is illegal to record conversations that you are not participating in.
On one hand, I believe many employees are willingly to incorporate with any demand which is reasonable, because we all understand that the employer and the employee are in the same boat. On the other hand, if the demand is unrealistic or unattainable. I belive that the employee should have his/her right to stand for the position in order to maintain a friendly employer-and-employee working culture for now and for the future generation.
In my opinion, I still believe that there are many great employers out there, doing their best to maintain a pleasant workplace, as well as in compliance with our current labour law. This is definitely a key successful factor of keeping a long-lasting and successful business. A thorough review of employee performance may be a combination of both quantiative and qualitative factors measured in an equal weight. The human capital is what differentiates one business from others, so it could be wise for the employers to emphasis on the strength of our human intelligence!
Please also read the article of "Are all layoffs legitmate under the Employment Law?" which was written on August 3, 2015 in this blog!
N.B: Please consult with a legal representative for any advice prior to your action, when the labour dispute arising. The time limitation for the submission of your labour claim is within 2 years from when the occurrence first starts.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be construed as a legal advice, but strictly for information only in this entire website. Please contact Trustworthy Legal Service for your independent legal advice in your particular situation. The first consultation is also required prior to my retainer of your case.
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