I've been absconding due to workplace safety, anxiety and depression.
During my absenteeism, my boss only ask me 1 time where i am. After that he never contact me. After more than 10 days I decided to send him an email. In my email ive stated my frustration on the company policy and management. I also told him that am withdraw myself from the company and they can consider my as absconded staff.
After that email, they never reply me but suddenly a week later, they sent me a letter thru email. The letter is a termination letter due to my absconment and asking me to pay 2 months notice in lieu.
Please advise me whether i shud pay it or seek advice from legal consultant.

From Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Dear LL Diana,

You have resigned because of "workplace safety, anxiety and depression". But then before resignation, why you did not approach some counsellor? Why you did not approach your HR? Did you investigate causes of the depression? What efforts did you do to mitigate the causes of depression? Was there any change of change of department? Was there any chance of manipulation?

Separation from the company is one thing and method of separation is another. Abscondment from the work was not right way of separation. There is nothing like "withdrawal" from the company. You cannot compare yourself with some investment in financial instrument where the investor can withdraw at his/her will. Each employee needs to give proper resignation and complete the notice period.

Now coming to the solution. At this stage no need to approach labour lawyer as such. Many lawyers advice to file suit. However, the court cases drag on for the years together. This will exasperate you to the hilt. Corniness of the court cases kills the joy of winning the case. Yes, your termination is illegal. Any termination has to be preceded by the domestic enquiry. Your company has not conducted any enquiry.

At this stage, just ignore the company's notice. Let us have "wait and watch" policy. If the company sends you the legal notice, then come back to this forum again. As a trade off, please be prepared to forego service-cum-experience letter from that company.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Hi Dinesh

Thank you for your advice.

Here the reason why i didn't approach HR. Because am the HR Manager. During my service with the company, my management never listen to HR advice. When something happens and its has to do with labor dept, staffing and not only related to HR but out of hr duties. my management just simply throw the problem to HR dept. it's happen very frequently despite i had advised my management so many times. I try and do my best to be calm and be professionally done as a HR Manager most of the time. Until 1 day, our company business partners abandoned his duty to our company and steal a huge amount of cash. The cash actually belong to the business partner workers. Since the business partner had runaway, the workers go to HR office and making noise asking for their payment. By right, their payment not come from us. But since their employer had runaway(the business partner) they asking from us. That time, no one from my management stand with HR dept. everyone keep quiet until our company regional office notified the issue. Yes, we managed to pay the business partner workers in the sametime we lodged a police report. After that incident me including my staff felt demotivated with the management and afraid to come to work because concern of our safety.

The reason we concern of our safety because, the business partner workers keep on asking us money, because the claim the payment that we made to them is insufficient. But we do the payment according to the list prepared by their employer(the business partner left the payroll listing to his staff)

We try so many times to contact the business partner but failed.

3 days after that, on the way back from the company workers hostel, i was driving alone. My car has been blocked by 3 unknown guys using a Van. I cant hear what they said but i clearly understood the body language showing their angry with me. I was so panic and speed up my car. I didn't Do a police report but only told my staff what just happened to me. I was so scared and honestly I can't think anymore. I just stay at home, and didn't pick up and phone call or text messages. I was so angry, sad, depressed.

I know absconding is not appropriate plus am a HR Manager. But Im also a human being and a woman. What make me really sad no one from my management concern and care. After all that bad things happen to me, everyone just keep quiet on that case. But when come to my absconment, they act so efficiently but not apply a proper procedure.

Question

If my company didn't conduct a proper procedure on my absconment, I can challenge their decision?

Am not asking for any compensation from the company but good enough if they take seriously on what happened.

From Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Dear Diana,

Your problems arose because of the following reasons:

a) You have failed to understand the wind is blowing from which side. When business partner runs away with the money, this shows the culture of the company. You had failed to gauge the pulse of the organisation.

b) You had allowed to see yourself as the face of the management. Rather workers should have considered you as one amongst them. HR is always powerless, hapless and helpless. Yet it appears that you had projected wrong image to them.

c) If workers were not getting the salary, you could have passed the buck upward. HR's role is to prepare the salary roll and nothing more than that. What if the salary rolls are not approved and the funds are not transferred to the back account?

d) When three workers blocked your car, you could have shown courage to talk to them. Generally Indian men do not raise hand against women. Had there been male HR Manager, those workers would have surely beaten him. However, you failed to take gender advantage. You could have told them that you are also harried as much they are. HR Department just disburses the salary but the money comes from the top. HR is just like a water tap. By breaking water tap, one does not restore a failed water supply.

e) Neither you talked to the aggressive workers and pacified them nor did you lodge police report for their aggression. FIR could have lent credence to your abstention. Now today you are neither here nor there.

f) Diplomacy is the art of possible. Many HR professionals wear double masks. One in front of management and another in front of workers. At home, both the masks are off. It appears that you had none. In the bargain you do not have saviour at either place.

g) When the business partner abandons the business and runs away with the money, how it can have bearing on the workers' salary that I could not understand. What is this business model? How many partners were there? What is the role and responsibility of other business partners?

h) Tacitly you could have told workers to approach Labour Office. Notice from the Labour Department, is always sent to the occupier and not to the HR Department. Possibly HR may represent management in the Labour Office (LO). But they are just representatives. Everybody knows that they are not the decision makers. Notice would have shifted focus from HR Department to the top management.

Anyway, there is no crying over a spilt milk. This is a hindsight. As written in the first post, wait for the lawyer's notice. If lawyer's notice is received, threaten the management that you will go to Labour Office and explain all the wrongdoings of the company. If management develops cold feet, bargain with them for the smooth exit. If management remains implacable, go to the Labour Office and explain everything. Take few workers also with you and guide them to give a joint complaint. Never allow your name to figure anywhere. Once the industrial dispute arises between workers and the management, it will be monitored by the labour department. Coolly withdraw from the scene!

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Referring to your question for clause (g)
The Company have letter of agreement with the business partner. The business partner have letter of agreement with his workers. Meaning anything with regards of the workers employment, the workers need to deal with the business partner as their employer.
The business partner get payment from our company. We will only pay the business partner and its a responsibility of the business partner to pay the workers since the workers appointed by the business partner.
In this situation, since the business partner had runaway, the workers come to our office, which is not supposed to be. At the first place, am ignoring the workers because it's clearly the workers are not employed by us. But, the management asking hr to prepare the payment and pay the workers and i don't have guts to say no :(
By the way Thank you for your opinion and advice. I hope after this everything will be fine.

From Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Hello Dinesh Divekar,
I am not really sure of this aspect--BUT based on what Diana mentioned, the 'legal' relationship between her Company & the so-called Business Partner 'seems' to be that of a Company & a Contractor.
In such a scenario, legally, isn't the onus of the salary payments of the Contractor on the Primary Employer--i.e. her Company--under the Contracts Act?
You will be in a better position on this legal aspect/point.
Rgds,
TS

From India, Hyderabad
Hi Tajsateesh
Yes. You are right. The business partner I meant is a sub contractor. The workers that making noise actually employed by the sub contractor. So by right our company not suppose to involve with the sub contractor management. But in my case, my bosses instructed me to do the payment.
Thoughts?
Tks

From Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

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