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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
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We are a company based in Angola that hires expatriates from

Customer Question

We are a company based in Angola that hires expatriates from all over the world. The company has been going through a hard time since the decision from the directors to lend money to support another company within the group. Being the lease legal, the truth is both companies are struggling since the 2008 economic crisis.

One malaysian expatriate hired 7 months ago as a project manager wasn't performing according to company's expectations and started doing things that were considered inadequate in a family run businness environment (for instance, he started checking information on other employees and disclosing it to company owners, plus, even when everybody knew he has a wife and kids in Malaysia, he started having and affair with a co-worker that lived in the company's compound, which made most of the other employees very uncomfortble).

This employee had 2 weeks vacation back in Malaysia and during that period of time the company decided he should no longer continue with us, since the new projects that he was supposed to undertake were not going to be carried on for the next 6 months (and he had a 01 year contract only). Of course this not the only reason, having the affair and his "detective" behavior a lot to do with the decision to terminate. Nevertheless, since the company didn't want to give him a hard time mentioning the inadmissible behaviors previously mentioned, we only stated that due to the interruption of the projects he was supposed to undertake, he was no longer needed.

This employee now has sent and e-mail (cc his attorney in Malaysia) threatening to release company's information to the public and authorities in Angola as well as in the embassy of Angola in Singapore (has jurisdiction over Malaysia) if we don't pay him all the salaries until the term of the contract, plus bonus (he had no achievements, was really not a team player and the company is a much better environment since he's away), and "compensation" for losing his job unlawfully (as he plays).

P.S. The employee's manual has a confidentiality clause and is part of the employment contract.

Since we are not all in the same jurisdiction, I'd like to know what are the first and further steps to take in this case.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
Singapore has a very sophisticated legal system based upon English/UK law.

If the employee's threat would expose your business or personal interests to injury, it is possible that the employee could be criminally prosecuted in Singapore for extortion. You would have to contact law enforcement in Singapore.

If law enforcement is disinterested, and it may be, due to the fact that there is no way to require anyone from Angola to appear as a witness in a criminal prosecution in Singapore -- making prosecution effectively impossible, then you could sue for defamation of character in Singapore, assuming that the disclosure of the information damaged the business reputation and the disclosed statements are false.

You can also sue for violation of the employment nondisclosure agreement, also in Singapore. See title">Asia Business Forum Pte Ltd v Long Ai Sin and Another [2003] 4 SLR 658; [2003] SGHC 187.

Suing in Angola would likely be a useless effort, because the Singapore courts would probably refuse to recognize a judgment made by an Angola court, and you would be forced to sue again in Singapore to enforce your Angolan judgment.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, you will need a Singapore lawyer to assist. I regret that I cannot provide any direct referrals -- but, I'm sure you can find some on the internet.

Hope this helps.

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