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As the first firm in the country to have a dedicated employment and administrative law practice, we have extensive experience in providing advice on employment and industrial relations matters.

The firm’s earlier practitioners in the Industrial Court were Dato’ Mahadev Shankar and Dato’ V. L. Kandan, followed by V. T. Nathan in the early 1970s who became the firm’s first lawyer to undertake a fully specialised practice in Industrial Relations. SivabalahNadarajah who currently heads it, joined the Practice Group in 1984.

Today, our team, comprising of 6 partners and 2 legal assistants, provides comprehensive representation and assistance to our clients at various stages of employment-related dispute resolution.

Our lawyers have appeared before the apex courts in decisions that resulted in significant developments in industrial jurisprudence. For example, it is now law that the Industrial Court has no jurisdiction to hear disputes lodged outside the time frame provided under Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967, and a termination in accordance with the employment contract is still deemed a dismissal under Section 20 of the said Act. We were also successful in establishing that a failure to hold a domestic inquiry did not render a dismissal unfair as well as that in the event an employee is gainfully employed after the dismissal, this factor must be taken into account by the Industrial Court in awarding any compensation.
Our practice has also been engaged in cases which resulted in the evolution and expansion of the field of administrative law. In addition, the practice also keeps abreast with amendments to the law and, given our experience, is able to advise our clients on the nature and implications of the amendments.

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Administrative Law
We have appeared in landmark cases involving the challenge of the decisions of the Minister of Human Resources, the Industrial Court and other statutory bodies and officers.

We have also represented clients in the superior courts in cases which involved the interpretation of the articles of the Federal Constitution. For example the role of the concept of equality/non-discrimination when applied to private law between employer and employee, the concept of employees as the assets/chattel of the employer in a sale and purchase transaction and the right to livelihood as a guaranteed fundamental liberty.
Collective Bargaining
We have also assisted in the drafting and vetting of various employment-related agreements taking into account relevant statutory provisions as well as other considerations. We ensure that these agreements are tailor-made to the individual client’s unique and specific needs.

We also provide pragmatic, constructive and prompt advice on the creation and the implementation of human resources policies, taking into account the relevancy or otherwise of the Employment Act 1955.
Employment Issues
We provide guidance to employers as to the appropriate steps to be taken before and during the disciplining of an employee, be it for misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. In some situations, the employer is unsure if the action taken is excessive or insufficient; we can provide guidance on the various options available and advise on the ensuing consequences.

In the event the employer chooses to dismiss the employee and the employee thereafter files a claim for unjust dismissal, we will be able to guide the employer from the reconciliation stage to the conclusion of proceedings at the Industrial Court, as well as at the appellate stage.
Industrial Actions
Our extensive focus on this area allows us to provide practical and legally sound advice to employers, in dealing with and responding to industrial actions mooted by trade unions such as strikes and pickets.

In such delicate situations where emotions run high and cools heads do not always prevail, we consider the bigger picture and long-term implications, and assist employers in navigating the intricacies involved and avoiding common pitfalls.
Legal Representation
Acting exclusively for employers, our team conducts hearings at various levels of the Malaysian judiciary - from defending our clients against action taken by disgruntled former employees who have been dismissed to dealing with trade disputes and union recognition.

We also represent clients at the Labour Court where contractual/statutory based claims are lodged.
Reorganisation & Retrenchment / Mergers & Acquisitions
We have been involved in many large-scale restructuring exercises and our practice is well-positioned to provide the necessary assistance to craft a seamless transaction, without compromising business needs and concurrently ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory provisions and other regulations.

Our involvement in cases where the concept of outsourcing has been expanded and developed as well as cases which resulted in the recognition of departure from the principle of LIFO, bears testament to our focus on this area.
Schemes
We advise on relevant issues such as the applicability of the requirements, the method of contributions to statutory regulated retirement and insurance schemes, the rates of contributions as well as the potential liabilities for failure of non-compliance. We also defend employers in prosecution cases instituted by the relevant statutory authorities.

We also provide clients with innovative advice on the establishment and management of private retirement funds; as well as, if the need should arise, the restructuring and closure of the same.
Sivabalah Nadarajah
Vijayan Venugopal
Raymond T C Low
Suganthi Singam
Reena Enbasegaram
Wong Kian Jun

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