It is trite law that an employee may accept a severance package and yet file a wrongful dismissal claim subsequently. It is well settled that estoppel has no place in industrial jurisprudence.
In the recent reported Industrial Court case of Ng Wei Jye v Kaspersky Lab SEA Sdn Bhd (case no.: 7/4-1568/18), the employee had agreed to the Separation and Release Agreement (“SRA”) and accepted the severance payment. The employee then filed a for wrongful dismissal claim at the Industrial Court and wanted to be reinstated to her original position.
The Court found that the conduct of the Claimant in agreeing to the SRA and by negotiating for a separation package, has indeed negated the elements of purported coercion and duress by the Company. The Court further observed that there was an element of willingness on the part of the Claimant when she negotiated for a separation sum which was more favourable to her.
The Court, having considered the circumstances, found that the Claimant's employment had ceased by mutual agreement and that the Claimant had voluntarily negotiated and accepted the SRA. There was no dismissal of the Claimant within the context of Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967.
The Company in this case was represented by Leonard Yeoh, our partner and Head of Dispute Resolution, Employment and Industrial Relations Practice Groups, who was assisted by our associate, Pua Jun Wen.