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Employment Laws

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WorkinginSG
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Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 5:46 pm

I have been living and working in Singapore for just over 1 year, now, for a British firm. As an American, where there are labor laws, I do not know what the laws are in Singapore. Therefore, I would like to ask for some advice. I was "demanded" by my boss to change my personal LinkedIn profile to advertise and highlight him, and, today, was asked to turn on "locate your friends" on my iPhone so he can track my whereabouts like a dog. Is this legal???? I know this absolutely is not in the U.S. I continued here with this company at an 80% paycut from what I am used to in the U.S. with no healthcare coverage other than my own through my bank. Is this normal? I know that labor laws are not enforced here, but just wanted to see if I had any rights as an employee? Thank you!

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Re: RE: Employment Laws

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:02 pm

WorkinginSG wrote:I have been living and working in Singapore for just over 1 year, now, for a British firm. As an American, where there are labor laws, I do not know what the laws are in Singapore. Therefore, I would like to ask for some advice. I was "demanded" by my boss to change my personal LinkedIn profile to advertise and highlight him, and, today, was asked to turn on "locate your friends" on my iPhone so he can track my whereabouts like a dog. Is this legal???? I know this absolutely is not in the U.S. I continued here with this company at an 80% paycut from what I am used to in the U.S. with no healthcare coverage other than my own through my bank. Is this normal? I know that labor laws are not enforced here, but just wanted to see if I had any rights as an employee? Thank you!


Is it a company provided phone ? If not switch to Android and feign ignorance.

And were all these requests made in writing?

Seems like you are in a wonderful company.

There aren't many laws to protect you or your privacy, but what I see is comical even by Singapore standards.

Where exactly is your boss from ?

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:47 pm

WorkinginSG wrote:I have been living and working in Singapore for just over 1 year, now, for a British firm. As an American, where there are labor laws, I do not know what the laws are in Singapore. Therefore, I would like to ask for some advice. I was "demanded" by my boss to change my personal LinkedIn profile to advertise and highlight him, and, today, was asked to turn on "locate your friends" on my iPhone so he can track my whereabouts like a dog. Is this legal???? I know this absolutely is not in the U.S. I continued here with this company at an 80% paycut from what I am used to in the U.S. with no healthcare coverage other than my own through my bank. Is this normal? I know that labor laws are not enforced here, but just wanted to see if I had any rights as an employee? Thank you!


This isn't a question of labor law, this is a question of privacy law. For sure, your where-abouts 24 hours per day could certainly be considered personal data and cannot be collected without your consent. And probably, you cannot be coerced into putting information onto a personal web page that you don't wish to publish.

But, what are you going to do? Do you have an employment contract? What does it say about this? Are you making less that $4,500 or $2,500 (depends on what you do) and therefore are covered by the employment act? Are you willing to tell your boss to ferk off?

If you are covered by the employment act, you could probably file under the general provisions of the act, and it will probably still cost you your job, one way or the other. If you're not covered, then Singapore is an "at will" state and you can be terminated without cause.

Your options come down to four as I see it.

a) You can tell him to ferk off and see what happens.
b) You can cave in and do what he says.
c) You can do what he says, just not the way he wants it. Buy a cheap phone, load the location software and leave it in your desk drawer at work. Advertise and highlight your boss by calling him a scum sucking shithead on your LinkedIn page.
d) Since you're working for a UK company, go over his head, way over his head and take the battle to your boss from the top down.

All involve risk. I'd start looking for another job. Besides, I wouldn't want to work for a scum sucking shithead.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:46 am

Thanks for the feedback. I have actually spoken to an attorney and will be prepared depending on how things unfold this week. I am just utterly shocked! Someone did advise me to threaten with a lawsuit as no financial firm will want bad publicity especially right now!

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:50 am

@ecureilx No, it is a personal phone that I pay for. No, the request was made verbally, but I am going to consult with an attorney on what to do next, as I do not know the laws here. Lastly, he is British, as it is a British firm. Thank you for the feedback.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 1:14 am


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Re: Employment Laws

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 6:53 am

Those links are old hat. Nothing new there that has been there for at least a decade. Additionally, there is nothing there that directly pertains to your situation. I'd have to go with Strong Eagle's synopsis.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 9:17 am

I do feel quite bullied and have been under a lot of stress and don't sleep well, as on top of all of that, though hitting my targets discussed, am threatened weekly that I may be let go if performance falls disregarding the current market situation.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 10:04 am

WorkinginSG wrote:I do feel quite bullied and have been under a lot of stress and don't sleep well, as on top of all of that, though hitting my targets discussed, am threatened weekly that I may be let go if performance falls disregarding the current market situation.


In addition to the suggestions given out, I would like to remind you about Singapore Employment Law.

If your pay exceeds 4,500 $, you are not protected unless you had an iron clad contract in place.

Without a good contract spelling out everything, Your chances of losing are pretty high, if you get into a fight, which most here may agree, though some may disagree and suggest you go for it - your experience may vary !

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby x9200 » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:04 pm

WorkinginSG wrote:I do feel quite bullied and have been under a lot of stress and don't sleep well, as on top of all of that, though hitting my targets discussed, am threatened weekly that I may be let go if performance falls disregarding the current market situation.

Why not? I mean, is your contract worded this way that the company has to wait till the last day of the contract or they can terminate it giving you a notice (2-3 months for example)? If the later, there is nothing you can do.

Now, what you should also consider is that Singapore law generally protects businesses. Not that you may have anything strong written in the stone, but if an individual tries to damage a company, right or wrong, it may be a tricky situation. I am referring here to your other post about bad publicity. Be careful with this. If your only desire at this point is to teach them a lesson, than don't. Singapore is IMHO not a good place for such a thing. Just look for another job. Sh*t happens, but sometimes it makes more sense to pass around it, rather than stir it with your own hands.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby WorkinginSG » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:21 pm

@x9200 Thank you for your feedback. Yes, I will wait it out and see if I can secure another job. The attorney did say that I did have some rights and if I wanted pursue further action, it would be a long drawn out battle. It would be up to me, as the attorney would do it pro-bono in my case. I have no ill-intent towards the company, as I still think it's a good company. I just think the poor behavior of my boss towards me is unmerited and I hope he doesn't treat others in this manner.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby x9200 » Wed, 24 Feb 2016 8:23 am

Yes, you have rights, but I doubt in this case going legal you are going to get anything positive out of this. I think your case is not strong enough for the potential benefits to outnumber all more real loses, even if you win. This is not like you are going to be granted some big money as a compensations and unlikely you will be able to recover the lawyers fees in full. That's at least my feeling.

In some other thread where ecureilx mentioned a case of disciplinary firing two employees because one of them revealed his salary, I would expect the chances to be much better, but here, your boss is just an AH. You are not obliged to fulfill his requirements for the linkedin and tracking part, but he is not obliged to continue with you if the clause I mentioned is in your contract. You refuse, he will give you a termination notice. It is not like a fair and solid reason is needed to fire. Such clauses in the contract are typically unconditional, so are not linked, for example, to your performance.

A different scenario would be if you refused and he fires you immediately based on disciplinary action, but I doubt this would be the case.

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Re: Employment Laws

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 24 Feb 2016 10:30 am

x9200 wrote:You refuse, he will give you a termination notice. It is not like a fair and solid reason is needed to fire. Such clauses in the contract are typically unconditional, so are not linked, for example, to your performance.

A different scenario would be if you refused and he fires you immediately based on disciplinary action, but I doubt this would be the case.


Well, I have seen the worst case scenarios :D

1) Employee puts the boss in the right place. A week later HR gives warning to employee for not adhering to the 1 hour lunch rule - noticed that lunch breaks are longer than 1 hour. And a week later, termination is given - along with the second warning - for not being in office at 9 AM per contract. Though that is never enforced on others, and no consideration is given for staying after office for hours. No sir, this only affect "YOU"- we are not talking about other employees here.

2) Employee tells the boss off. We month later, the employee receives termination. Reason - insubordination. And it is valid. After all, if you can't follow instructions of your boss, what are you doing there ?

3) Employee proves his worth, and argues with his boss that the performance bonus must be more. And a month or so later, HR gives a letter of termination, for bad performance, and bad peer review. No, we will not tell you who said what. And they have no obligation to tell you anything - and it won't change the fact that the employee is fired.

Those are worst cases. Though in my experience, the above are the minority. But, that they can do such stuff and get away with it is what need to be taken note of - in case you have a boss with a serious agenda.


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