Threat Of Disciplinary Action Is Not Coercion

Author:Mr Dato' Thavalingam Thavarajah
Profession:Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Azahari bin Md Lazim v Spanco Services Sdn Bhd (Industrial Court Award No 2335 of 2019)

Resignation in the face of threatened disciplinary action will not constitute a forced or involuntary resignation.

The company had uncovered preliminary evidence of misconduct involving a conflict of interest. Upon being queried and shown this evidence, the employee, a senior manager, was informed that further investigative and/or disciplinary action would be taken. The employee's immediate response was to resign from his position, despite having served for more than 20 years. In his letter of resignation, the employee had expressly thanked the management and wished the company well.

He then proceeded to file a claim of unfair dismissal against the company, alleging that he had been coerced and pressured into resigning by the apparent threat of legal and/or disciplinary action against him.

The Industrial Court, however, agreed with the company's position that disciplinary action in response to prima facie evidence of misconduct would not amount to undue pressure or coercion which would render the resignation involuntary. The court further considered...

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