Firms in the Spotlight Labour and employment
Labour and employment in Malaysia
The labour and employment team at Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill is led by Heng Seng Lim and Dato Thavalingam C. Thavarajah. Providing clients with compliance advice on legislation and common law rights, it also reviews policies and documentation, covers managerial prerogatives, and counsels on trade disputes and collective agreements. The client portfolio features a substantive number of Fortune 500 companies as well as family-owned enterprises and non-commercial entities. Shariffullah Abdul Majeed advises on the dismissal of senior employees and internal investigations while senior associate Amardeep Singh is recommended for immigration law and the management of foreign workers.
Handling an increasing quotient of contract renegotiations, the labour and employment offering at Shearn Delamore & Co is led by Sivabalah Nadarajah, a specialist in trade disputes, collective bargaining and industrial action. The 'amazing' Suganthi Singam handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, Reena Enbasegaram is known for her work in disciplinary action procedures, and Raymond Low is recommended for health and safety litigation. Notably, the firm also pursues allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace and recently acted in this capacity for Malayan Banking Berhad.
‘Messrs Shearn Delamore is one of the top tier firms if not the top in many diverse fields of law . I have experience working with them for the past 20 years as a litigation lawyer and now as in house counsel . They are obviously highly knowledgeable in Employment matters and have a commercial sense which is valuable especially to our organization‘.
‘Suganthi Singam is an amazing lawyer to work with , very responsive and available at all hours of the day. She is also very knowledgeable in Employment matters, has a good balance of commercial sense and ready at hand with advice whenever approached‘.
Siva Kumar Kanagasabai, 'one of the best HR lawyers in the business' and compliance expert Selvamalar Alagaratnam orchestrate the labour and employment team at Skrine. Acting for major clients such as Unilever, Samsung and DHL, it handles legislative compliance, common law rights, managerial prerogatives and collective agreements. The offering also covers the complexities of staff termination (including the removal of senior employees) and successfully acted in this capacity for the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Clients can also benefit from the firm's 'concise and high-quality advice' in relation to the transition and migration of workers as well as its strong track record in trade union disputes.
‘Concise and high-quality advice. Excellent response time‘.
‘The Labour & Employment team headed by Siva Kumar Kanagasabai, gives sound practical and commercially-driven advice‘.
‘The stand-out partner is Mr. Kumar Kanagasabai. We have been working with him mostly on IR-related matters and very happy with his performance‘.
‘Good client engagement. Can expect them to be proactive and responsive with an ability to empathise with client’s concerns’.
‘Sivakumar is one of the best HR lawyers in the business- he is very commercial in his approach and his advice is always spot on. He is very accessible, a good communicator and understands the industry and the structure in which his clients operate‘.
Employees Provident Fund Board
Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad
Top Glove Corporation Berhad
Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia B.V
Petroleum Geo-Services Exploration (M) Sdn Bhd
Aker Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Pathology Asia Holdings Pte Ltd (Gribbles)
Malaysian Airports Berhad
HCL Technologies Ltd/HCL Axon Malaysia Sdn Bhd
- Acted for Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia B.V. as the company is being sued by a former contractor, who was an employee of one of Hess’ service providers.
- Defended Petroleum Geo-Services Exploration (M) Sdn Bhd (PGS) in an unjust dismissal action in the Industrial Court brought by an expatriate employee following a global reorganisation exercise carried out by the PGS group of companies.
- Acted for Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad following concerns raised by the Central Bank of Malaysia (“BNM”) regarding improprieties on the part of the Bank’s President/ Group Chief Executive Officer.
Wong & Partners
Providing clients with advice on both contentious and non contentious matters, the labour and employment offering at Wong & Partners is led by corporate restructuring expert Brian Chia. It is renowned for its ability to mitigate the risks associated with the termination of senior employees. More broadly, the team covers issues such as data protection, redundancy, unfair dismissals, salary reductions and workforce transfers in light of amalgamation. Clients are drawn from industries such as mining, technology, insurance and manufacturing. Eddie Chuah is the name to note for civil litigation, arbitration, industrial relations disputes and compliance.
Other key lawyers:
The labour and employment team at Zul Rafique & Partners advises clients on industrial matters such as strikes and picketing. In addition, it handles non-contentious issues such as the establishment of pension funds, share option schemes and various remunerative utilities. It is led by Jayasingam A/L Poopalasingam, Wong Keat Ching and the 'highly skilled' Thavaselvi Pararajasingam, respective specialists in litigation, disciplinary matters and constructive dismissal. A notable highlight concerns its successful defense of Public Bank Berhad in the Industrial Court, a case concerning false representation in support of a renovation loan. The firm's client portfolio includes PricewaterhouseCoopers, Malaysia Airlines and AEON Credit Service.
‘Messrs Zul Rafique is one of the top tier firms if not the top in many diverse fields of law . I have experience working with them for the past 20 years as a litigation lawyer and now as in house counsel. They are obviously highly knowledgeable in Employment matters and have a commercial sense which is valuable especially to our organization‘ .
‘The team takes time to understand the situation and explain it in layman’s terms‘.
‘P. Thavaselvi is a highly dedicated lawyer and highly skilled in her field. She is also very responsive and available at all hours of the day. She has a good balance of commercial sense and is ready at hand with advice whenever approached‘.
‘Keat Ching and her team know our firm well. They are very professional in responding to our queries, and give us reliable and sound advice‘.
‘Keat Ching – is a subject matter expert in her field is able to understand the problems and provide advice accordingly‘.
‘Over the years, they have gained our trust in partnering with us to manage sensitive and confidential matters. They have also obliged our request to run knowledge sharing workshops to up-skill my team in IR matters and correspondingly we have been happy to share our workplace practices and policies with them‘.
Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)
Tenaga Nasional Berhad
Genting Plantations Berhad
Public Bank Berhad
KLCC Property Holdings Sdn Bhd
Sime Darby Berhad
Sime Darby Property Berhad
Sime Darby Plantation Berhad
Sime Darby Industrial Sdn Bhd
CIMB Bank Berhad
RHB Bank Berhad
Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd
Rhombus Connexion Sdn Bhd
AEON Credit Service (M) Berhad
Megasteel Sdn Bhd
Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd
Malaysia Airlines Berhad
United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd
Christopher & Lee Ong's labour and employment team is orchestrated by four leads: Kelvin Kho, Rubini Murugesan, Yau Yee Ming and Han Li Meng. In essence, it stands as an integrated group of lawyers from corporate, commercial and litigation backgrounds. Notable for serving start-ups and new ventures, it regularly advises on the sector implications of compensation programmes, remuneration packages, corporate acquisitions and business integrations. To complement this, it also handles workforce restructuring (including transfers or migration), health and safety, anti-corruption, data protection and cybersecurity. The firm recently assisted Sellbytel Service in a hiring case concerning the ownership rights of 'successful bidders'.
Vale Malaysia Minerals Sdn Bhd
Sobena Offshore Inc. Sdn Bhd
Parker Hannifin (M) Sdn Bhd
NS BlueScope (M) Sdn Bhd
Sellbytel Services (M) Sdn Bhd
TecnimontHQC Sdn Bhd
Nyree Resources Limited
Medix Medical Services Asia Ltd
ACA Pacific Technology (M) Sdn Bhd
Itochu (M) Sdn Bhd
Described as providing a 'unique service', Donovan & Ho's labour and employment team counts L’Oreal within its client portfolio. Led by Donovan Cheah, it handles disputes as well as a broad spectrum of non-contentious matters. Specifically, it assists with internal misconduct investigations (including fraud and breach of fiduciary duties) as well as retrenchment and closure of businesses. One notable recent case is its defence of a medical device manufacturer in a series of unfair dismissal claims. Other industries served include: hospitality, food and beverages, IT, manufacturing, chemicals, professional services and construction.
‘I always get very qualified and usable answers, and no matter what time it is, I get a response very fast. I think Donovan Cheah provides a unique service!‘
- Represented and defended a global manufacturer of medical devices in several unfair dismissal claims arising from a regional right-sizing restructuring exercise.
- Advised and supported a multinational interior design business regarding the closure of its operations in Malaysia, and the discharge of its entire workforce.
- Represented a multinational electronics manufacturing company in judicial review proceedings, whereby we successfully obtained an order to quash a decision of the Minister of Human Resources.
Advising companies on all aspects of employment law and industrial Relations, the team at Rahmat Lim & Partners maintains a strong relationship with Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore. This means that clients can benefit from extensive legal resources for matters such as EPF and SOCSO contributions, union recognition, disciplinary actions, terminations of service and misconduct. Lead partner Jack Yow, a 'well-rounded' expert in industrial relations, advises on the legal implications of poor performance, redundancy, voluntary separation schemes and restructuring. The firm recently represented Kontron Design Manufacturing Services in an unfair dismissal claim at the Industrial Court.
‘Very efficient and quality service provided. The capability of the lawyer helped our company succeed in a key labour case‘.
‘The L&E team under Jack Yow is supportive, particularly during the recent pandemic of which the team is clear and responsive to various L&E issues arise, well done‘.
‘The lawyer was well-versed in the legal knowledge required by our company. Very professional service given in a timely manner‘.
‘Jack Yow is a seasoned L&E lawyer coupled with his strong litigation background make him the right fit we look for in term of balancing company interest while juggling the human element when it comes to L&E disputes. A well-rounded L&E lawyer‘.
- Acted for Kontron Design Manufacturing Services in an employment dispute in relation to an unfair dismissal claim filed by the previous Financial Controller of Kontron – Quah Chong Ghee at the Industrial Court.
- Acted for Syn Tai Hung Trading Sdn. Bhd. in defending an Industrial Court action filed against its former Chief Executive Officer, Soh Chee Gee for unfair dismissal.
- Acted for Eaton Industries in an unfair dismissal claim brought by its former employee as a result of his retrenchment.
Known for his work in redundancy and retrenchment, Ravindra Kumar Rengasamy heads the labour and employment offering at Raja, Darryl & Loh. In broad terms, the team covers key issues such as collective agreements, mutual separation schemes, contract assessments, retrenchment and the structure of performance review plans. Notably, it has recently advised on an increasing number of cost-cutting and staff rationalisation exercises triggered by the government's implementation of the Movement Control Order.
Baker Hughes Group
Royal Bank of Canada Group
Amer Sports Malaysia Sdn Bhd
- Secured a decision of the High Court, affirmed by the Court of Appeal, that termination with immediate effect prior to the expiry of the termination notice is acceptable in instances of anticipatory breaches.
- Secured a decision of the Industrial Court that in certain industries (such as oil and gas), an employer can be rigid and uncompromising in imposing and maintaining high standards of care, thus justifying the dismissal of an employee who has breached such standards.
- Secured a decision of the Industrial Court, affirmed by the High Court on judicial review, to the effect that an employee’s conduct of affirming an affidavit against the interests of the employer constitutes an act of misconduct justifying a dismissal.
Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff
Assisting clients with matters such as workplace safety, data protection, immigration and union disputes, the labour and employment offering at Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff is directed by Yap Yeong Hui and Brian ML Foong. It handles court work as well as advisory and drafting matters, and the team counts Travelodge Hotels (Asia) as a key client. In addition, a recent case highlight concerns the firm's successful defence of Rubberflex Sdn Bhd in an unfair dismissal claim at the Industrial Court.
Cadbury Confectionery Sales (M) Sdn Bhd
Pengerang Refining Company Sdn Bhd
MRCB Quill Management Sdn Bhd
Rubberflex Sdn Bhd
Travelodge Hotels (Asia) Pte Ltd
Agoda International Sdn. Bhd.
Microchip Operations (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
I-Yuno Media Group
VF Brands Malaysia Sdn Bhd
- Represented an employer to defend a n unfair dismissal claim. The employer’s defence is that the employee was negligent in the performance of his duties. The Industrial Court handed down its award in favour of our client and the former employee’s claim was dismissed.
- Provided support to an North American client who recently purchased a business in Malaysia, advising on all aspects of Malaysian employment law.
- Assisted a client to defend a claim for unjust dismissal filed by an employee after his termination due to poor performance. We were successful in helping the client defend the claim.
Orchestrated by Jeremiah Gurusamy and Alwin Rajasurya, the labour and employment team at KDJLaw (Koh Dipendra Jeremiah Law) acts for corporate clients, government-linked companies and SMEs across a number of areas. Recognised for its 'exceptionally vast' sector knowledge, it successfully represented CAH Management SDN Bhd in an unfair dismissal claim.
‘KDJLaw has been very supportive to our company in the sense that they provide the information requested promptly. The staff have also been very helpful in entertaining our queries regarding legal matters. In addition to that, their experience in labour and employment matters are exceptionally vast as they have been handling the cases for years. We have so far put our trust in them to handle any labour-related matters on behalf of our Company‘.
‘They are attentive to our problems and are only one text away‘.
Led by the 'brilliant' Marcus van Geyzel, the employment team at Peter Ling & van Geyzel is described as being 'extremely responsive' and 'timely' in its delivery of service. With a portfolio that contains numerous blue chip clients such as General Electric, its recent work includes advice on the dismissal of senior personnel and the settlement of unfair dismissal claims.
‘I love working with this team. Marcus is knowledgeable, responsive, commercial and budget conscious. This is what I need when I refer my clients to him‘.
‘We are working with this Malaysian firm on employment related questions. They are extremely responsive and handle all questions in a timely manner even when the matter is super urgent. The work product is very good. We really appreciate working with this firm‘.
‘We use Peter Ling a lot for Malaysian employment needs. Very well tuned on U.S. client needs and is helpful/responsive‘.
‘Marcus is knowledgeable, responsive, commercial and budget conscious. He is a safe pair of hands and I can be confident referring matters to him‘.
‘Marcus van Geyzel is a brilliant employment lawyer, quick to respond and get to the nub of the issue. His advice is practical, commercial, straightforward and sensible. He is a total pleasure to work with‘.
‘Marcus is very responsive and gives practical advice without legalease‘.
‘We work with Marcus van Geyzel. We really appreciate that Marcus is very practical in his advice. He is also super responsive to all our requests. We really appreciate working with such an amazing colleague‘.
Bird & Bird
McKinsey & Company
- Advised General Electric (GE) on its employee integration and restructuring following the US$11.0 billion spinoff and merger of its transportation business with Wabtec Corporation.
- Advised and represented a Fortune Global 500 company on a host of matters throughout the past year, including misconduct investigations and dismissals, harassment complaints and investigations, negotiating mutually-agreed separations, unfair dismissal claims, retrenchments and redundancies, and employment matters arising from COVID-19.
- Successfully represented an international hotel and resort management company in an unfair dismissal claim brought by its Director of Human Resources.
The Labour and Industrial Disputes team at Shook Lin & Bok is directed by Romesh Abraham, a specialist in employment and administrative law as well as general tort and insurance claims. He is supported by Mehala Marimuthoo, an experienced litigation partner advising on issues such as recruitment policy, retrenchment, outsourcing and performance management. In addition, the offering covers internal disciplinary matters such as dismissal proceedings and social security entitlement.
Other key lawyers:
- Acted for a company to establish that employee allegations against CEO were without substance.
- Represented a company after 89 unionised employees challenged the decision to retrench by the Company. The matter was heard before the Industrial Court in Johore.
- In light of COVID-19, advised a hotel client of the regulatory steps to be complied with, the statutory compensation to be made and the manner in which risks could be avoided.
Tay & Partners' Leonard Yeoh leads the firm's offering in employment & industrial relations. Serving clients in both contentious and non contentious matters, it covers issues such as collective agreements, union disputes, immigration, wrongful dismissal, sexual harassment and retrenchment. A substantive portion of the firm's work is carried out for multinationals, local (and international) banks, government agencies and domestic companies.
Country Garden Pacificview
PUMA Sports Goods
Cuckoo International (MAL)
OCK Group Berhad
Radius Fuel Cards
Voith Paper Fabrics Ipoh
Kering Asia Pacific Limited
Visa International (Asia Pacific), Llc,
Azmi & Associates advise on labour law; representing clients in the negotiation of collective agreements. It also provides the employment law input for various corporate or contractual matters and represents clients on employer-employee disputes. Melinda Marie D’Angelus has experience in advising trade unions and employers in contentious and non-contentious matters.
Led by the 'very sharp and accurate' Gan Khong Aik, the Employment and Industrial Relations team at Gan Partnership is said to provide clients with: 'holistic and comprehensive advice'. Notably, the boutique firm concentrates on dispute resolution and counts Philip Morris and ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Inc within its portfolio. A highlight is the firm's work for United Overseas Bank on an allegation of unlawful dismissal.
‘The quality and in-depth knowledge of the partner we’ve been in contact with has been so convincing that we could put his professional advice to good use right away. From past experience, some people in the same profession may end up taking some time to ‘digest’ the crux of the matter, leaving us anxiously in the quandary, but not with this person in this firm‘.
‘I am extremely grateful and happy with what Gan Khong Aik and Ashley Lee Sze Ching did for winning my case against a very established multinational company. The teamwork between Gan and Ashley is very strong and complementary. Gan provides leadership and strategic approach to my case and Ashley is just incredibly meticulous in searching for authorities to support the argument.I appreciated most is their professionalism and it has been fun working with them‘.
‘Gan Partnership gives holistic and comprehensive advice on labor and employment matters. We trust their assessment and value the risk mitigation measures they recommend‘.
‘The lawyers have very strong knowledge of the local labor laws and are very well acquainted with the latest labor trends. They interpret the laws in a practical and logical manner which enables a lay person to understand and utilize that information. They are give a lot of exposure to court proceedings and hands on training.They have close knowledge of the processes and precedence of the labor departments and labor courts. This is extremely important as it helps in the counsel they provide their clients‘.
‘Mr Gan (Partner) and Ms Ashley Lee (Associate) are meticulous in understanding the factual matrix of cases, articulating the legal and practical issues and in preparing witness statements and collating relevant documents before trial. They plan ahead and provide sufficient and appropriate guidance to our witnesses without compromising their professional integrity.’
‘Mr Gan’s assessment on the issue in hand has always been very sharp and accurate. He is very prompt with his response which makes it more convenient for us to act on the next move. He is always calm and composed but in complete control of the situation. His ability to grasp the crux of the matter within the very brief moment after it is being presented to him makes him stands out compared to others that I have dealt with before because he would offer solutions in an instant too. Time is of the essence, so having someone like Mr Gan to rely on is really advantageous for us to deal with any industrial relations or legal issues‘.
‘Mr Gan is an exceptional practitioner. He is very well respected by his peers and his clients. He is extremely humble and accessible. I find that he puts the integrity of the profession as a priority. And is a true trusted advisor‘.
United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Berhad
Saw Kong Beng
Philip Morris Sdn. Bhd
ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Inc.
Schlumberger Limited and its subsidiaries
Overseas Courier Sdn. Bhd.
Overseas Courier Service (S) Pte Ltd
Suez Capital Sdn. Bhd.
UKM Holdings Sdn Bhd
Celcom Axiata Bhd
ExxonMobil Business Support Centre Malaysia Sdn Bhd
GM Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (Japanese owned company)
OSK Holdings Bhd.
K-GIC Advertising Sdn. Bhd.
United Kotak Berhad
ECI Software Solutions (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
Elowater Malaysia Sdn Bhd, subsidiary of Multi Water Holdings Limited
Kiplepay Sdn Bhd, subsidiary of Green Packet Bhd
Roland Berger Sdn Bhd
Valmont Corporate Shared Services Sdn Bhd
GS Paperboard and Packaging Sdn Bhd
- Acted for the Bank for an alleged unlawful dismissal brought by its trader leading the commodities desk in the Bank.
- Acted for a senior employee of Avago Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd in an unlawful dismissal suit before the Court of Appeal in Malaysia and advised the senior employee in another action against the United States-based holding company for damages arising from such unlawful termination
- Defended UKM Holdings Sdn Bhd in an unlawful dismissal claim brought by its former Chief Executive Officer
Three leads direct the labour and employment offering at Josephine, L K Chow & Co: Cyndi Chow Li Kian, Edward Saw Keat Leong and Josephine Ng Bee Leng. With a particular emphasis on manufacturing, it has significant experience representing both employers and workers in unfair dismissal cases at the Industrial and appellate courts. The firm counts Sapura Acergy is a key client.
Raymond Mah leads the Employment Law & Industrial Relations Department at MahWengKwai & Associates. Handling contentious issues such as unfair dismissal and disciplinary procedures, it also assists with contract development and the implications of industrial disputes. Recent work has included advice on cost-cutting, salary reduction and retrenchment. Diana Cheak and Janessa Kok are key names to note.
Paktor Pte Ltd, Singapore
Paktor MY Sdn Bhd
Ebona Trading Sdn Bhd
Shirley @ Premalata a/p Vincent Ramesh
- Represented Shirley @ Premalata a/p Vincent Ramesh in the Industrial Court for the unfair dismissal claim against her former employer, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd. The Client was terminated by Nestle Malaysia due to an alleged restructuring exercise.
- Represented Ebona Trading Sdn Bhd in the Industrial Court to oppose an unfair dismissal claim commenced by a former employee. The Client terminated the former employee due to absenteeism.
- Represented Paktor Pte Ltd, Singapore and Paktor MY Sdn Bhd in their High Court civil suit against their former employees and a business competitor company for breach of contract, breach of confidentiality, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy to injure.
Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law) (a member of ZICO Law) provides a range of employment advice to its corporate clients, in addition to handling various disputes. Team head Yong Hon Cheong assists clients on both advisory matters as well as conducting cases in the Industrial Court and senior associate Sivagami Sivalingam focuses on contentious matters.
Other key lawyers:
Zain & Co
At Zain & Co, key employment issues are dealt with by the litigation and dispute resolution team which is led by Anita Sockalingam. Steered by Sharmini Durai, it regularly represents corporate clients in unfair dismissal cases and is particularly known for pursuing judicial review applications as well as appellate matters. Specific matters handled include mutual separation agreements, out-of-court dispute resolution, internal disciplinary proceedings, retrenchment exercises and business closures.
Other key lawyers:
WTW Real Estate Sdn Bhd
BASF (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
ON Semiconductor Sdn Bhd
Institut Jantung Negara Sdn Bhd (“National Heart Institute”)