Teoh Alvare from ZUL RAFIQUE & partners’ Employment & Industrial Relations team succeeded in defending Maxis Mobile Service Sdn Bhd in an unfair dismissal claim by a former employee who was charged for misconduct relating to her continuous argumentative, disrespectful, abrasive, tactless and uncooperative attitude in the case of Thilagavathy a/p Arunasalam v Maxis Mobile Service Sdn Bhd.

In this case, the Company had informed the Claimant that the use of Whatsapp would be an official form of work communication and that staff are not supposed to exit such work Whatsapp groups without the prior permission of the Company. The Claimant was argumentative, disrespectful and uncooperative towards her superior and she had exited the Whatsapp groups in blatant disregard of her superior’s instructions.

The Industrial Court held that the Claimant’s failure to seek her superior’s approval prior to exiting the Company’s WhatsApp groups, failure to send out the “Day End Sales and Service Report” on several occasions and evidence of past misconduct in totality showed willful defiance to the lawful orders of the Company. The Claimant’s persistent refusal to obey instructions or to cooperate with her superior amounted to an act of indiscipline and insubordination.

On the issue of the Domestic Inquiry, the Court held that the absence of a Domestic Inquiry does not ipso facto render the Claimant’s dismissal from the service without just cause or excuse because the Court can proceed to hear the case afresh (de novo hearing).

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.