Can an action be taken against a rude employee? Can he or she be dismissed?

Can an action be taken against a rude employee? Can he or she be dismissed?

Generally, the law on this issue states that an isolated incident of rudeness does not merit the penalty of dismissal as in the case of Kie Gwan Shipping (M) Sdn. Bhd. -v- Govindasamy A/L Muniandy [1991] 2 MELR 117. However, if the employee’s action and behavior of being rude and sarcastic is not an isolated incident (for instance, if it had happened before on a number of different days and/or occasions) an action of dismissal may be justified as deliberated by the Industrial Court as follows:-

“…in Walters v. Top Crust Foods Ltd. [1972] IRLR 108, an employee swore at his manager when asked to carry out a task he did not consider to be part of his duties. This was NOT HIS FIRST swearing offence and he had been WARNED previously that further use of bad language would lead to his dismissal. The Industrial Tribunal considered the dismissal to be fair saying:

If instead of asking whether what he is asked to do is in his duties, he swears at those who ask him, obviously the management of the firm has to retain respect for those in authority must take action. It cannot carry on if it allows its employees so to behave towards its managers.”


Note: This article was taken from Mr. Mahadi Muhammad’s LinkedIn Page with his prior permission. Mr. Mahadi is the Principal Partner at Messrs Mahadi Redzuan & Co., Advocates & Solicitors, Kuala Lumpur

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