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The Absence of a Domestic Inquiry is not Fatal

section 14(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955

A "Due Inquiry" or "Domestic Inquiry" is one of the processes that must be carried out before dismissal for misconduct can be justified, as required by section 14(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955.


This procedure must be carried out before the dismissal can be justified.


When wrongdoing is alleged to have been committed by an employee, this provision's goal is to ensure that the concept of Natural Justice, which states that the employee has the right to be heard, is upheld through a thorough investigation.


Domestic Inquiry

A domestic inquiry, also known as a "DI," is an internal investigation procedure carried out by an employer to investigate an employee's behaviour while on employment, specifically to determine whether or not the person has committed an act of misconduct.


The DI is a procedure that allows the allegedly guilty employee to respond to the allegations that have been made against him.


However, section 14(1) of the Employment Act 1955 does not define and does not define or clarify what constitutes "due inquiry" or how an investigation has to be carried out.



Practical Questions

Then,

  • Does this imply that the employer must carry out an official DI before dismissing an employee for misconduct?

  • What repercussions will this have for the employer if an employee files a complaint against his employer for unfair dismissal because the employer did not conduct a DI?

Gissco Sdn Bhd vs Jagjit Singh Mahinder Singh

In Gissco Sdn Bhd vs Jagjit Singh Mahinder Singh (Award No: 13 of 1988), the Claimant is dissatisfied and seeks to refer the following question to the High Court:

  • Does the Industrial Court have jurisdiction to ignore provisions making it mandatory to hold an inquiry under the Employment Act 1955 in making an award under Section 30 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967?

  • Can the Industrial Court conclude that the Claimant was dismissed with just cause and excuse in the absence of an inquiry?

The Evaluation Of Evidence And Findings

The late Fong Seng Yee, the then president of the Industrial Court, observed that:


  • The absence of a domestic inquiry or the presence of a defective domestic inquiry is not a fatality but merely an irregularity.

  • It is open to the company to justify its action before the tribunal [the Industrial Court] by leading all relevant evidence before it and by having the entire matter open before the tribunal.

  • Unless the Industrial Court has found that the dismissal was without just cause or excuse, the Industrial Court has no jurisdiction to offer any relief

Conclusion

The absence of an inquiry is not fatal to the Company's case.


Simply put, employers do not necessarily have to carry out a formal DI.


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