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MOM's and TADM’s response to MustShareNews’ article “S’pore HR staff claims she was unjustly sacked, compensated $1,125 after mediation”

The article, “S’pore HR staff claims she was unjustly sacked, compensated $1,125 after mediation” by MustShareNews contained inaccurate statements.


Background


Ms W. initially lodged a wrongful dismissal claim with Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) on 18 June 2020 but provided no reasons to support her allegation. In subsequent phone interviews carried out by TADM, she said that when she requested to be excused from certain work that caused her eye problems, the company was not responsive and was discriminatory towards her. However, when asked to produce the doctor’s medical recommendation, she was unable to furnish it. TADM proceeded to arrange for a mediation session for both parties to address the issues raised. At the mediation, Ms W. made a new claim that the company discriminated against her by terminating her and hiring a foreigner (who was the sister of the senior HR executive) in her place.


Claim #1: That Ms W. was asked to settle for a lower sum


Fact: The lower sum was agreed between Ms W. and the company.


When cases are mediated at TADM, we hear from both parties, to determine the issues at stake. This approach allows the mediator to help parties arrive at a fair outcome. If the facts are clear-cut, the mediator will advise the parties of its assessment, with a view to helping them arrive at an amicable settlement. If the facts are not clear-cut, the mediator nevertheless tries to explore with parties if they can come to an agreement. If the parties are unable to reach agreement, they are advised to consider proceeding to the Employment Claims Tribunal where a judge will determine the matter.


Ms W’s case was not clear-cut, as she had raised different allegations at different points in time. Her employer also disputed her allegations and explained that Ms W. had performance issues. Hence, the mediator explored with the parties what they were prepared to do to resolve the dispute amicably. In the course of the mediation, the company offered an ex-gratia payment of half a month’s salary ($1,125), which Ms W. accepted.


Ms W. was not compelled by anyone to accept the offer from the company. The mediator had reminded Ms W. that she had the option of pursuing her case at the Tribunal if she did not accept the offer.  She was also advised that by accepting the offer, she would not be able to continue to litigate her case at the Tribunal. Having been briefed she indicated her acceptance and signed a settlement agreement with the company.


Claim #2: That Ms W. was asked to write a resignation letter 

Fact:
 It was Ms W. who requested to be allowed to convert the termination to a resignation.


During the mediation, the mediator explained to both parties that sometimes, in addition to ex-gratia payment, the ex-employee asks to be able to resign instead of the company terminating him/her. Ms W. requested that as part of the settlement, the company lets her convert the termination into to a resignation, and for the company to provide her a letter of service. The company agreed to Ms W’s request. Ms W. then provided a handwritten copy of the resignation letter to the company on her own accord. The mediator was not involved in the preparation and drafting of this letter.


Conclusion


TADM provides mediation services because in the vast majority of cases, both the claimant and the respondent do not disagree on the facts, and mediation offers a faster and lower cost way to resolve the matter. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement during mediation, they always have the option of taking their case further to the Employment Claims Tribunal.