MATRIX GLOBAL EDUCATION SDN BHD v. FELIX LEE ENG BOON

[2023] 2 MLRA 40

MATRIX GLOBAL EDUCATION SDN BHD v. FELIX LEE ENG BOON
Court of Appeal, Putrajaya
Lee Swee Seng, Supang Lian, Nordin Hassan JJCA
[Civil Appeal No: W-01(A)-477-09-2020]
9 December 2022

JUDGMENT

Lee Swee Seng JCA:

[1] This is a case of an alleged constructive dismissal before the Industrial Court where the employee/claimant, a legally-qualified Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of the company, asserted that he had been dismissed without just cause and excuse by being forced to resign. The Industrial Court believed him and made an award of back wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement ("Award"). The High Court affirmed the Award.

[2] The employee/claimant was the 1st respondent in the High Court and the 2nd respondent was the Industrial Court with the company being the applicant in the judicial review proceedings. Before us in the Court of Appeal the company is the appellant and the employee/claimant the only respondent. For ease and consistency of reference the company shall be referred to as the appellant company and the claimant as the respondent.

[3] Before us it was argued that there was no forced resignation and that the termination of employment had been on terms mutually agreed by both parties as evidenced from the final letter from the employer to the claimant setting out the terms mutually agreed which letter was acknowledged by the claimant with no reservation of rights. We shall now examine whether the Award of the Industrial Court should be upheld or whether it should be quashed on ground of being irrational in that any tribunal faced with the facts as adduced would have come to the conclusion that this was ultimately a case of mutual separation on terms

[4] The respondent before us was employed as the CEO of the appellant under a fixed term employment contract dated 1 August 2014. He was based at the Matrix Global Schools ("MGS") in Sendayan, Negeri Sembilan. As is not uncommon, the respondent was subject to being transferred within the Matrix group of companies in accordance with the business requirements of the appellant.

[5] His scope of duties and responsibilities as the CEO, would encompass his proper management of the MGS which included Matrix International School ("MIS") and Matrix Private School ("MPS") so as to achieve continued growth and ensure long term profitability.

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