ZUL RAFIQUE & partners’ Employment & Industrial Relations team - P Jayasingam together with Thavaselvi Pararajasingam and Tan Hao Wei succeeded in defending Yayasan UEM in an unjust and unfair dismissal claim by a British citizen in the case of Peter James William Dyer v Yayasan UEM. The employee was a former teacher and Head of Psychology at Kolej Yayasan UEM (‘KYUEM’), employed on a fixed term contract of employment, which was not renewed due to his voice being weak and distracting resulting from vocal chords dysfunction.

In this case, the Industrial Court rejected the employee’s claim that his contract of employment as a teacher at Kolej Yayasan UEM (‘KYUEM’), was permanent in nature and not a fixed term contract. The Court held that the Claimant’s contract was a genuine fixed term contract because both the first and second contracts stipulated a specific period of two (2) years and the Claimant accepted his contract completion bonus which was only paid to fixed term contract employees.

Although the employee claimed that there was no break in his employment with the Company whereby the second contract was entered into even before the first contract expired and continued seamlessly, the Court held that the fact that the contract was renewed without any break cannot by itself convert a fixed term contract into a permanent one especially when the contract was made in the confidence that the quality of the Claimant’s voice being weak and distracting to the students would be sorted out by surgery.

The Court found that the employment contract was a genuine fixed term contract which had simply come to an end due to effluxion of time and therefore, the question of there being a dismissal does not arise.

For more insights into this area of law please contact our Partners in Employment & Industrial Relations Practice Group: P Jayasingam, Wong Keat Ching & Thavaselvi Pararajasingam.