Singapore—A woman who says she was “wrongfully dismissed” from her job as a human resource (HR) assistant says that she received S$1,125 after asking for S$13,500 as compensation.
Jenny Wong, 47, told media outfit MS News that she had been dismissed from her job for no apparent cause last May, when the country was still under the Circuit Breaker. The sibling of a senior HR executive at the firm, who is not a Singaporean citizen, reportedly replaced her.
Ms Wong then asked for help from the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), hoping to get S$13,500 in compensation for her wrongful dismissal, but eventually had to settle for far less.
MS News quotes her as saying, “I worked hard for the company, helped them in times of crisis for over a year by taking on another person’s workload which caused me to suffer a serious health issue.
But the employer chose to terminate me unfairly in order for the hiring person to hire her own sister to take over my position the following day after my termination.”
She talked to MS News about her experience in order to raise awareness about such things and to help others undergoing similar experiences.
Ms Wong, who has yet to find another job since being dismissed in May, said she worked as a Human Resources (HR) and admin assistant for two years at a company that offers cleaning services.
After going on leave on May 15 and 18, which the company’s senior HR executive approved, she returned on May 19 to find a termination letter that gave no reason for her dismissal.
Feeling that she had been wrongfully let go by the company, she told her story to TADM in August, after thinking about it for three months.
TADM then carried out a mediation, and sent the cleaning company an email on Aug 17.
The company’s director responded to the mail, and explained why Ms Wong had not been wrongfully dismissed. For one, her pay had been given to her within 7 days of her last day of work. Also, the company had offered for Ms Wong to continue to report to work and not be given any tasks for one month, or she could just leave with one month’s salary instead, the director explained in the email that MS News had seen.
And because Ms Wong was stunned by the choice she was given and was told to make a decision before noon on May 19, she just decided to leave.
She was later told by her ex-colleagues from the firm that a non-citizen took her position by May 20, allegedly the sister of the senior HR executive, who is also not a citizen of Singapore.
Ms Wong added that she was reportedly asked to write a letter of resignation on Sept 28, during a face-to-face mediation. The letter was supposed to be backdated to May 20.
This was asked for as it would supposedly give her better chances of finding work, especially at her age.
The mediator counseled her to write the letter of resignation, which the cleaning company’s director signed and acknowledged.
However, when it came to seeking compensation after her dismissal, things did not go the way Ms Wong wanted. She asked for S$13,500, the equivalent of six months salary, adding that she had experienced mental stress as well as incurred medical expenses for a health issue stemming from job-related stress. While she told MS News that the director had only wanted to give her S$800 at first, later the two sides agreed on paying Ms Wong S$1,125, which she received last month.
MS News said that she has reached out to the TADM mediator on her case, MOM corporate communications, the director of the cleaning services company, and TADM corporate communications about Ms Wong’s story.
So far, MS News was told that MOM knows about Ms Wong’s case but said it is a matter for TADM, and as for TADM corporate communications, it said it would comment soon. —/TISG
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