Wednesday 21 March 2012

Eight women lose gender discrimination suit

Court of Appeal rules in favour of plastic manufacturer, Guppy Plastic Industries, saying the company had the right terminate its female employees when they reached the age of 50. 

PETALING JAYA: Eight former female employees of a plastic manufacturing company lost their appeal in a gender discrimination suit.

In making the ruling, Justice KN Segara, who lead a three-man bench, said it was straight forward case and it did not involve gender discrimination.

“Guppy Plastic Industries followed procedures based on its guide book when it terminated its female employees,” said Segara.

In July 2001, eight female employees filed a suit against the plastic company when they were forced to retire based on a new regulation listed in a handbook introduced by the employer.

The handbook says that all women employees in the company will be terminated once they reach the age of 50, as they would be prone to suffer medical problems.

The case was then taken to the Industrial Court which duly ruled in favour of the workers in its ruling in 2008, saying Guppy Plastic Industries’ regulation was archaic.

However, the company sought a judicial review and in April 2010, the High Court ruled in favour of Guppy Plastic Industries.

Unhappy with the verdict, the workers took the matter with the Court of Appeal the same year.

PSM: ‘Judgment ridiculous

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan criticised Segara and called his judgment ‘ridiculous’.

“Everyone was laughing at Segara’s verdict in the court. We even walked out in disgust,” said an irate Arutchelvan.

The sacked workers were represented by former Bar Council president, K Ragunath.

Arutchelvan said that it was unfair of Guppy to simply introduce a new ruling in the middle of the women’s employment without getting an endorsement from the workers’ union.

“With this ruling, a company can terminate all its female staff saying they are medically unfit even when the employer has no valid medical proof to back their claims,” said Arutchelvan.

Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Discrimination Against Women.
ara even downplayed the importance of the convention when Ragunath pointed out the matter during the hearing,” alleged Arutchlevan.

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