Case Study: Employment Dispute Resolution Services for an Enrichment Centre

Background

Client: A renowned enrichment center in Singapore.

Issue: Unlawful dismissal of a pregnant employee without notice compensation, after finding out she is pregnant. Her dismissal was ill-advised by individuals who are not HR-trained practitioners; resulting in wrong advice and incorrect calculation of the employee’s last salary. Client engaged Kairos HR Solutionist thereafter.

Situation

The enrichment center faced a challenging situation when they dismissed an employee shortly after discovering she was pregnant. This action was taken without providing the due notice or compensation in lieu after being advised by non-HR trained practitioners. The employee, feeling aggrieved and unfairly treated, sought legal recourse for what she perceived as discriminatory dismissal. Thereafter, Kairos HR Solutionist was approached and appointed by the enrichment center.

Challenge

Our client was at risk of legal repercussions for potentially violating employment and anti-discrimination laws. The situation was delicate, as it involved sensitive issues of pregnancy and potential discrimination, which could harm the center’s reputation and employee morale.

Our Approach

Immediate Assessment and Advisory

Upon engagement, our team quickly assessed the situation, reviewing employment contracts, dismissal procedures, and communications between the client and the employee. We advised the client this appeared to be discrimination and the approach would have to be about damage control. 

Strategic Mediation at TADM

Recognizing the need for a swift and fair resolution, we represented the enrichment center in a mediation session at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). Our aim was to negotiate a settlement that was just and satisfactory to both parties, while also ensuring compliance with employment laws.

Resolution and Compliance

During mediation, it became clear that the dismissal was not in line with statutory requirements. We advised our client on the legal and ethical implications, leading to an agreement to provide the employee with her due notice compensation and an additional goodwill settlement.

Outcome

After successful mediation and initial agreement on a goodwill settlement, the situation took an unexpected turn. The client, upon consulting with her non-HR-trained consultants, reconsidered the agreement. Influenced by this advice, she opted to retract her acceptance of the settlement, leading to an escalation of the case to the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT).

Recognizing the client sought guidance outside of our professional HR expertise, Kairos HR Solutionist made a strategic decision to withdraw from the case. This decision was taken in consideration of our core approach, which is to prioritize clients’ best interests, including their reputation and employee morale, and to maintain the integrity of our professional guidance.

Points to Learn

1. Value of Specialized Expertise

This case underscores the importance of relying on specialized HR expertise, particularly in complex employment disputes. Non-HR-trained individuals may not fully grasp the nuances of employment law and HR best practices, potentially leading to misguided decisions.

2. Consistency in Strategy

Adherence to a consistent strategy, developed in consultation with HR experts, is crucial. Deviating from this strategy, especially based on advice from those without relevant expertise, can lead to unfavorable outcomes.

3. Trust and Collaboration

Effective resolution of HR issues requires trust and collaboration between the client and their HR consultancy. Divergence from this collaborative approach can undermine the efficacy of the resolution process.

4. Risk of Escalation

Seeking advice from multiple, potentially unqualified sources can escalate disputes unnecessarily. This not only complicates the resolution process but also risks additional legal and reputational repercussions. 

5. Professional Boundaries and Ethics

Kairos HR Solutionist’s decision to withdraw from the case reflects a professional and ethical stance. When a client diverges significantly from agreed-upon advice and strategies, a consultancy may need to reassess its involvement to maintain professional integrity.

At Kairos HR Solutionist, our approach is always to safeguard our clients’ best interests, encompassing both their reputation and employee morale. We invite you to engage with us for dependable, expert guidance in navigating complex HR landscapes, ensuring a harmonious and legally compliant workplace environment.

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