Breach of Employment Law

Published By The Daily Star on March 01, 2016 (Link Above)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. 

Question:

I used to work in a limited company. The company’s Managing Director used to behave badly with the employees and did not pay bonus and salary. In meetings he has been giving excuse of shutting down the company due to lose and inability not to pay salary and bonus on time. The office environment is not good and as a potential scholar, I was mentally abused. In this regard, I resigned from the job. But, the MD is not giving me release letter and has become hostile against me. When I resigned he did not give me clearance letter and salary. Also my bonus is pending. I have every evidences and reasons to leave the job. He is also kind of dictating with his own law and compelling employees to work on public holidays without any reason. How can I get legal support regarding the issues?

Answer:

Thank you for seeking my advice regarding several aspect of your former employment.

Labour and employment issues in Bangladesh are largely governed by the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘BLA’), which has been amended from time to time (hereinafter collectively referred to as ‘the Amendments’), and the recently implemented Bangladesh Labour Rules 2015 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘BLR’). However, it shall be clarified at the outset that the provisions of the BLA hereinafter detailed, are applicable to employees considered to be ‘workers’ in an establishment. Section 2(65) of the Act provides the definition of worker, which means any employee having managerial, supervisory or administrative capacity in an establishment shall be considered to be a non-worker and all other employees having responsibilities other than that shall be regarded as workers.

When the governing law for workers is BLA, please note that in case of non-workers the terms and conditions prescribed in the employment agreement and the internal policies or manual, if any, would apply as the binding law as there is no statutory provisions governing the employment of non-workers. However, the companies may adopt a policy, which applies for all types of employees and is also in compliance with the BLA.

Since your query does not give a clear picture as to your nature of your service, I shall assume that BLA applies in your case.

Since you have resigned from your position therefore in terms of law your employment agreement was terminated when you have resigned from your post. It shall be borne in mind that resignation is not subject to any approval from the employer’s side and you need not have any reason as such for resigning from the job. You have formally and legally separated yourself on the day the registration was served with the effective date as mentioned. Furthermore, acceptance of resignation is a mere formality and the employer can only reject/withheld resignation when there is a pending disciplinary action against the employee. From your words that does not appear to be the case and, therefore, there appears to be no reason for the resignation not being accepted. However, you are very likely to be required to give certain days notice. In case if you have not given the required notice, basic salary for those days may be adjusted from your final payment.

I am unaware of whether your employment type was permanent and the number of years you have completed at the company. Nevertheless, if you were a permanent worker, then under S.27 (4) of the BLA you are entitled to compensation depending on the number of years completed. S.27 (4) (a) provides for compensation at the rate of fourteen days wages for every completed year of service, if you have completed five years of continuous service or more but less than ten years; or, (b) at the rate of thirty days wages for every completed year of service if you have completed ten years of continuous service or more; or gratuity, if any, whichever is higher, in addition to any other benefit to which he may be entitled under this Act.

Such compensation shall be payable to you within 30 (thirty) working days by your employer as stipulated under S.30 of BLA. In regards to the release letter, under S.31 of BLA you are also entitled to a certificate of service.

On your other complain, it may be informed that a private organisation is not bound to observe all public holidays, expect for 11 days of festival holiday as determined by the organisation.  If someone has to work on a festival holiday, total of three days alternative and compensatory holiday has to be given to him.  In case if someone works on a public holiday which is not considered as a festival holiday for that organization then the day shall be considered as any regular working day.

I would advise you to try and resolve the matter amicably with your former employer and then pursue for legal course of action, if be required. You may first serve a letter as soon as possible and then a legal notice before actually starting any formal legal process. In case of no positive reply you may either start a case or may refer the matter to the Chief Inspector under the Ministry of Labour And Employment for conciliation.

I hope the aforementioned information and advice answers your queries.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com.