Wrongful dismissal

Dear HR Community

We wish to terminate an employee but we are worried that the employee may lodge a complaint with MOM as many have a tendency to do so nowadays.

As an employer do we still have the right to terminate any employee by giving them one month's notice or salary-in-lieu?

And do we need to provide any reason/s for the termination? Or report the termination to MOM?

Can the employee claim this as wrongful dismissal?

We are in the construction industry.

Thank you for your views and comments in advance.




HR Poll: Can the employee claim that our termination is wrongful dismissal?

Yes: 53.19%

No: 27.66%

Maybe: 17.02%

Not sure: 2.13%




In most of the cases I see, there is a goodwill offering in these cases such as encashing leave balances, Giving bonuses, or one to two months of service pay. I think this helps. - ZC

If you follow the terms of the employment agreement no issue. No need to give any reason. Cannot claim wrongful dismissal. - Chris

Dear Tina, the best way is NO reasons put on the termination letter but has to pay the notice in lieu as per the contract. - Yang

It depends on the reason for the termination. Has any verbal or written warning been issued to the employee before? I think there is a need to know the reason for the termination. My practice is to have a discussion with the employee and give her/him a chance for resignation instead of serving termination. Compensation whether notice or salary in lieu will be based on the employment contract. - Joey

It is always advisable to have strong evidence/backing on why the employee is terminated. i.e performance issue - PIP process, misconduct - investigation process etc. - Sharon

Need to determine whether termination is due to misconduct. If it is not misconduct, need to refer letter of employment on the termination clause and follow through. Also, have to ensure that there is documented process on the remedies/counselling taken to try to improve the situation. The employee was given chances to feedback on the situation without bias. If misconduct, need to conduct an inquiry before a decision is made. - Cherie

It depends on the reason. If it is behaviour like gross misconduct, you are able to terminate without giving notice. Most times, if it is not misconduct or other serious reasons, you are able to terminate employment without giving a reason as long as you give the notice period or salary in lieu. However, to be fair to the employee, it is good practice to give some sort of Performance Improvement Plan to the employee so that they are made aware of where they are falling short and are given an opportunity to improve. This would constitute some sort of 'warning' as well. It is also good to keep records of incidents/events to back up the reason why the employee is terminated, in case you are asked to provide reasons by MOM. - Gladys

My advice is still to terminate with notice. I do not think the employee can claim wrongful dismissal with the notice or salary in lieu. If an employee wants to resign, he or she has the right and both parties can enter into negotiation. - Shirley

Hi Tina, the employer is not required to give a reason for termination as long as due notice has been given to the employee. If the employee wants to know the reason, he/she can talk to the company’s management or HR. However, termination and dismissal require a different process. Hope this helps! JL



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