How to lose your job

How to lose your job

How to lose your job & not get paid one baht in severance pay: not stopping computer chat or games after many warnings, being drunk during working hours, stealing things at work, destroying another employee's car in the company parking lot, etc, etc.

Office workers in an office in the old days before computers or cubicles (Source: Wikipedia)

WORK & LABOUR LAW

Termination with cause ... as well as without costs

28/04/2015

Recently there was a prominent news story about an employee being dismissed due to addiction to computer chat, based on a Supreme Court judgement. In that particular case, the employer did not need to pay compensation.

Before the judgement in question, employers usually were obliged to pay carried-forward unused annual leave if they dismissed a staff member for a serious cause, based on the Labour Protection Act. However, if there was no serious cause for dismissal, the law called for payment, in lieu of advance notice, [of] severance pay and payment of unused annual leave for the current year and any leave carried forward.

Employees in the last cases often seek unfair termination damages from the Labour Court as well. Our experience shows the court will assess age, service period, hardship and the reason for dismissal and award damages of about one month's pay per year of service. 

The judgement we referred to at the start involved an accountant who was still on probation. She was found using the company's computer to surf the internet for personal reasons and chat via computer during working hours for almost an hour every day. As a result, the company dismissed her immediately. The Supreme Court decided the accountant had an important role and was responsible to the company for working meticulously. Not doing so could cause severe damage to the business. 

Under the terms of the law, the accountant wilfully disobeyed or regularly ignored her employer's orders, was absent from service, was guilty of gross misconduct, acted in a manner incompatible with due and faithful discharge of her duties and could be dismissed without notice or compensation. This meant the employer did not need to make a payment in lieu of advance notice.

Because the employee was dismissed during her probation period, she was not entitled to severance pay. If she had passed probation, the question would have been whether the misconduct was a serious offence that would have exempted the company from paying severance.

The Supreme Court dealt with a similar case in which an accountant used her personal computer to access the company system to contact a third party for a personal commercial matter. This was regarded as misusing electricity, telephones, equipment and company working time. She continued to do this despite five warnings before the company eventually terminated her employment with no compensation. X

The Supreme Court agreed that due to her misconduct, the employee was not entitled to any payment in lieu of advance notice or unfair termination damages. However, as the company did not specifically state the reason for dismissal in its termination letter, it still needed to pay severance.

The above implies that if the letter had stated the reason for dismissal clearly, severance pay would not have been required. To support this implication, there were cases where employers have dismissed employees for one of the following reasons:

- being drunk during working hours;

- misappropriating the employer's belongings; or

- destroying another employee's car in the company parking lot.

In all these cases, the court ruled the behaviour was serious enough to terminate the employee without severance. In all the above judgements, the reason was stated clearly in the termination letter.

Considering all these cases together with mandatory requirements, termination with cause does appear to be difficult. However, what the facts tell us is if an employer has solid grounds to support the termination cause under the law — for example, by conducting a thorough investigation and preparing clear supporting documents such as warning letters and a detailed termination letter — then the employer would be ready if the case goes to court. The danger of needing to pay a high amount of damages would then be remote.

Any employer faced with the real situation of needing to fire staff must pose these questions:

1. What legitimate reasons can I give the employee and how do I reply to any counter arguments?

2. Where do I have to start and end the story?

3. How can I save as many costs as possible for the sacking?

4. Where can I find supporting evidence to back up my decision to terminate the staff member?

5. How many documents do I need to prepare in advance before the termination date?

6. Who should I enlist to help me prepare and carry out the process?

Very importantly, the preparation stage has to be put into motion well before the termination date, with full support from your HR team or a legal adviser who truly knows the labour laws and investigation tactics. Otherwise, the reason for dismissal won't be convincing enough in Labour Court as a termination with cause and subsequently without costs.

This article was written by Anuwat Ngamprasertkul, associate director of tax and legal Services at PwC Thailand. We welcome your comments at leadingtheway@th.pwc.com

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/544067/termination-with-cause-as-well-as-without-costs

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Vocabulary

  • absent: without; not including, not present - ขาด
  • accountant: someone whose job is to prepare financial records for a company or person - นักบัญชี
  • Act: a law passed by a country’s government - กฎหมาย
  • addiction: a strong need or wish to spend as much time as possible doing a particular activity - การติด
  • advance: before the time that is expected; before something happens - ล่วงหน้า
  • adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา
  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • appear: to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
  • argument: a reason or reasons why you support or oppose an idea or suggestion - เหตุผล
  • as a result: it causes the following .... -
  • as many as possible: the greatest amount that I can get -
  • assess (verb): to carefully consider a situation, person, or problem in order to make a judgment - ประเมิณ, ประเมิณสถานการณ์
  • award: to give something to somebody as a prize, payment, etc - มอบให้
  • back up: to support - ให้การสนับสนุน
  • behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
  • belongings: the things you own - ข้าวของเครื่องใช้
  • carried forward: some amount from a previous year being moved into the next year -
  • carried-forward: some amount from a previous year being moved into the next year -
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
  • case: a particular situation or a situation of a particular type - กรณี, เหตุการณ์, สถานการณ์
  • chat: a friendly informal conversation - การพูดคุย
  • clear (adjective): easy to see and understand - ชัดเจน
  • clearly: easy to see and understand - ชัดเจน
  • commercial: for business purposes - เกี่ยวกับการค้า
  • compensation (noun): money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - การจ่ายเงินชดเชย
  • conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
  • contact (noun): having communication with someone - การติดต่อ การสัมผัส
  • convincing (adj): in a way in which someone is able to make you believe that something is true or right - อย่างโน้มน้าว, แน่ชัด,
  • counter: to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง
  • court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
  • cubicle: a little place with walls for a person to work in an office - คอกทำงาน, ห้องเล็กๆ ที่เกิดจากการใช้ผนังกั้น
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • damage (verb): to harm or spoil something/somebody - ทำความเสียหาย
  • damages: money that a court awards to a person who sued another person for causing injury to them -
  • deal with: to take action to solve a problem - รับมือกับ, จัดการกับ
  • decision (noun): a choice or judgement that you make after thinking and talking about what is the best thing to do - การตัดสินใจ
  • despite (prep): used to show that something happened or is true although something else might have happened to prevent it; used to show that somebody did not intend to do the thing mentioned - ถึงอย่างไรก็ตาม, ทั้ง ๆ ที่
  • detailed: in a very thorough way and with careful attention to facts - อย่างพิถีพิถัน
  • discharge of duties: doing your duty; doing what you are required to do -
  • dismiss: to force someone to leave their job - ไล่ออกจากตำแหน่ง
  • dismissal: forcing someone to leave their job - การไล่ออกจากตำแหน่ง
  • disobey: to refuse to do what a person, law, order, etc. tells you to do; to refuse to obey - ไม่เชื่อฟัง
  • document: a paper or set of papers with written or printed information, especially of an official type  - เอกสาร
  • drunk: having had too much alcohol to drink, i.e., drunk or intoxicated - มึนเมา
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • employee: someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง
  • employer: a person, company, or organisation that pays someone to work for them as a member of their staff - นายจ้าง
  • employment (noun): when a person has work that earns them money - การจ้างงาน, การงาน
  • enlist: to ask for and get help or support from someone - ขอความช่วยเหลือ
  • entitled: having the right to have or do something - มีสิทธิโดยชอบ
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • evidence: facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true - หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
  • exempted: not having to follow a rule or obligation or make a payment - ยกเว้น
  • experience: the knowledge and skill that you have gained through doing something for a period of time - ประสบการณ์
  • fact: something that is true - ความเป็นจริง
  • fair: acceptable and appropriate in a particular situation - เท่าเทียม, ยุติธรรม
  • fire: to make someone leave their job, sometimes as a punishment - ไล่ออก
  • gross: extreme and unreasonable - เลวร้าย
  • grounds: reasons for what you say or do - บนมูลเหตุว่า บนพื้นฐานว่า
  • guilty: having done something wrong, having the feeling that you have done something wrong - มีความผิด
  • hardship: difficulty - ความลำบาก
  • ignore: to fail to pay attention to; to pretend that you have not noticed or do not know about something - เพิกเฉย
  • immediately (adv): happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที
  • implication: the effect that an action or decision will have on something else in the future - การเกี่ยวพัน,ความหมาย,ความเกี่ยวข้อง
  • imply: to suggest that you think something without saying it directly - บอกเป็นนัย, แสดงนัย
  • in advance: before the time that is expected; before something happens - ล่วงหน้า
  • in lieu of: instead of - แทนที่
  • incompatible: cannot be used with or combined with another thing - ซึ่งไม่ลงรอยกัน, ซึ่งเข้ากันไม่ได้,
  • investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
  • judgement: the decision of a court or a judge; a verdict - พิพากษา
  • labour: work -
  • leave (noun): time taken off from work, either paid or unpaid - การพักงาน
  • legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • legitimate: reasonable and acceptable - ถูกต้องสมควร
  • mandatory: ordered by a law or rule - ตามข้อบังคับ
  • manner: way - ลักษณะท่าทาง, กิริยาท่าทาง, วิธีการ
  • matter: a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
  • member: a person, a country or an organization that has joined a particular group, club or team - สมาชิก
  • meticulously: in a very thorough way and with careful attention to detail - อย่างพิถีพิถัน
  • misappropriate: to use money improperly; to take for yourself money that you are responsible for but that does not belong to you - ใช้เงินในทางที่ผิด
  • misconduct: unacceptable or bad behaviour by someone in a position of authority or responsibility - การประพฤติผิด
  • misuse (verb): to use something in an unsuitable way or in a way that was not intended - ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
  • notice: information or a warning about something that is going to happen - การแจ้ง, การแจ้งล่วงหน้า
  • obliged: required to do something - ต้องทำ
  • offence: a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
  • order (noun): something that somebody is told to do by somebody in authority - คำสั่ง
  • parking lot: a place where motor vehicles are parked - ลานจอดรถ, ที่จอดรถ
  • particular: specific - เฉพาะ, จำเพาะ, โดยเฉพาะ
  • period: a particular length of time - ระยะเวลา
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • pose a question: to ask a question, especially one that needs serious thought - ถาม
  • preparation: things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready - การตระเตรียม
  • prepare (verb): put in order, get ready - เตรียม, เตรียมตัว, เตรียมพร้อม, จัดเตรียม, ตระเตรียม
  • probation (noun): a time of training and testing when you start a new job to see if you are suitable for the work - ช่วงระยะเวลาการทดสอบ
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • prominent: important and well known - สำคัญ, มีชื่อเสียง, เด่น
  • protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง
  • put into motion: started -
  • reason (noun): why something happened or exists - เหตุผล
  • refer: to mention someone or something - อ้างถึง, อ้างอิง
  • regularly: done or happening often, especially with the same time and space in between each activity and the next - เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
  • remote: slight; not very great - เล็กน้อยมาก
  • reply: an answer - การตอบ
  • require: to make somebody do or have something, especially because it is necessary according to a particular law or set of rules - บังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย) กำหนด
  • requirement: something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else - ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
  • responsible (adj): having a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ
  • role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท
  • rule (of a court): to make a decision - พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
  • sacking: forcing someone to leave their job - ปลดออกจากตำแหน่ง
  • service period: how long someone has worked for a company -
  • severance pay: money paid to a work who has been forced to leave his or her job - การให้เงินทดแทนการถูกออกจากงาน
  • severance pay: money paid to a worker who is forced to leave a company because they are no longer needed - เงินชดเชยในการให้ออกจากงาน
  • severe: very serious and unpleasant - รุนแรง
  • similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
  • situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์
  • solid (adj): strong; definitely good and steady but perhaps not excellent or special - แน่น, แข็ง
  • specifically (adv.): in a detailed and exact way; especially for one purpose - เฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • stage: a part of an activity or process or a period of development - ช่วง, ระยะ, ตอน
  • state: to formally write or say something, especially in a careful and clear way - บอกกล่าว, แถลง, กล่าว
  • subsequently: happening or coming after something else - ซึ่งตามมา
  • support: to provide information, reasons or argument to make people accept what you are saying or writing -
  • supreme court: the highest court in a country - ศาลฎีกา, ศาลสูงสุด
  • tactics: particular methods or plans for achieving something - กลยุทธ  วิธีการในการวางแผน
  • terminate: to end or stop something - ทำให้สิ้นสุด
  • termination: the act of ending something -
  • terms: conditions; requirements - ข้อกำหนด
  • third party: a person or group who is involved in a situation in addition to the two main people or groups involved - บุคคลภายนอก
  • thorough: detailed and careful - ละเอียดถี่ถ้วน
  • thorough: very complete - อย่างละเอียดรอบคอบ
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - คำเตือน, การเตือน
  • well before: a long time before something happened or existed -
  • wilfully: deliberately; done on purpose - อย่างตั้งใจ
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