Former CEO of private hospital awarded RM209,000 for constructive dismissal

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A FORMER chief executive officer (CEO) of a private hospital in Malacca was awarded RM209,000 in compensation for constructive dismissal seven years ago.

Industrial Court chairman Anna Ng Fui Choo said the dismissal was without just cause and excuse as the hospital’s management could not prove that Abdul Hamid Mustapah was guilty of misconduct.

Ng added that the claimant’s transfer and new appointment as tourism promotions manager was also a demotion.

“There was a breach of an essential term of the employment contract when the hospital transferred him to a new place and position for which he was not contracted,” she said in the award released last week.

She said the Malacca government may be the hospital’s majority shareholder, but that did not confer them the right to alter the terms of the contract unilaterally.

Hamid was appointed Putri Hospital (Melaka) Sdn Bhd CEO on Sept 1, 2000.

He was alleged to have committed a serious misconduct which amounted to insubordination and embarrassment to the hospital when he denied medical treatment to Datuk Abdul Rahman Abdul Karim, the vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors of the hospital.

Hamid denied this allegation, claiming he was not involved in that issue. He allegedly had asked the hospital to investigate the allegation but this was not done.

Hamid, represented by S. Muhendaran, was then transferred and made tourism promotions manager at the Malacca Tourism Promotion Department effective Sept 1 ,2005.

He then applied for leave from the hospital and in the meantime inquired the status of his employment.

Since there was no reply, Hamid had deemed he was dismissed from employment as CEO.

However, the hospital claimed he had gone to his new office and reported for duty on Sept 7, 2005 as evident from the clock-in on his punch card.

Ng said the hospital did not inquire into the alleged incident of Rahman being denied medical treatment following a request by Hamid to clear his name.

“However, the hospital chose to transfer Hamid without affording him an opportunity to explain the unfortunate incident.”

Ng said the hospital failed to adduce evidence that it was the claimant who made entries in his clock-in card since there was a likelihood of others making entries on his behalf.

The Industrial Court said an award for back wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement was the appropriate remedy since the people who were responsible for dismissing the claimant were still in the hospital management. – NST