Friday 24 May 2013

Employee abuse video: Abusive boss gets 10 days' detention

* Abusive boss gets 10 days' detention
His actions in treating victim like a punching bag have no place in civilised society: Judge
By Elena Chong, Court Correspondent, The Straits Times, 2 Apr 2016

An IT company manager who carried out a campaign of abuse against an intern was yesterday sentenced to a 10-day short detention order (SDO).

The community sentence is served in prison, but carries no criminal record.

A judge said that Lee Yew Nam, 45, the manager of Encore eServices, had used 32-year-old Calvin Chan Meng Hock like a "punching bag" - slapping and hitting him during a string of violent outbursts when he felt his work was not up to standard.

Lee Yew Nam used an intern like a "punching bag" - slapping and hitting him when he felt his work was not up to standard.
Posted by The Straits Times on Saturday, April 2, 2016

He was caught when another intern took a 17-second video of him hitting Mr Chan, and posted it online.

Lee was convicted of four charges of causing hurt to Mr Chan at his Jurong Town Hall Road office between January and May 2013.

Two other charges of causing hurt and using abusive words were considered in sentencing.

The court was told that in January 2013, Lee slapped Mr Chan once in the face for failing to neatly arrange several software files in a computer.

The following month, he punched Mr Chan in the face several times, then pushed him off his chair, as he believed the intern had failed to correctly answer a customer's request.

On May 14, 2013, Lee grabbed Mr Chan's chin and forcefully pulled it back after finding out he had forgotten to delete files from a database.

The abuse that was caught on camera took place the next day, after Lee went through a conversation log between Mr Chan and a customer.

Lee felt Mr Chan had failed to perform his work well, and questioned him. When Mr Chan gave him an explanation deemed unsatisfactory, he became increasingly agitated and started to shout at the younger man. Lee then punched him in the head before slapping him three times.

In passing sentence, District Judge Lim Tse Haw said the 10-day SDO imposed would be sufficient to deter like-minded employers from laying their hands on their employees.

"A strong message must be conveyed to all employers that such brutish behaviour has no place in our civilised society," he said. "It must be made clear to all employers that an employee, no matter how low his position in the company is, is an important member of the company and not a punching bag, not even for stressed-out employers."

The judge considered Lee's clean record, his plea of guilt, albeit at a late stage on the first day of his trial, his $5,000 voluntary compensation and the fact that he was suffering from a depressive disorder.

However, he said he could not ignore the fact that what Lee had done was a serious matter. "As a responsible employer, he has a duty to have regard for the well-being and welfare of his employees.

"Instead, he subjected the victim to physical hurt and verbal abuse on numerous occasions, once in 2010/2011, and five other occasions from January to May of 2013."

Lee's lawyer Diana Ngiam successfully applied for her client to start his sentence on April 8. The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

"Now, I think it’s ridiculous that my internship lasted about three years with such a pathetic pay," the 31-year-old...
Posted by The Straits Times on Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hearing over punishment
By Elena Chong, The Straits Times, 2 Apr 2016

A special hearing was held earlier this year to determine IT company manager Lee Yew Nam's sentence after he was convicted of four charges of physically abusing a subordinate several times in 2013.

The defence asserted that the 45-year-old was suffering from a major depressive disorder at the time, and that it contributed to his offending behaviour.

His lawyers tried to persuade the court to call for a mandatory treatment order (MTO) report before sentencing Lee.

First implemented in 2010, an MTO requires offenders with mental conditions to undergo psychiatric treatment for up to two years in lieu of jail time.

Two expert witnesses - Lee's psychiatrist, Dr Tommy Tan, and the prosecution's Dr Jerome Goh from the Institute of Mental Health - testified .

The prosecution argued that the defence had not satisfied the court that Lee's disorder had contributed to his offending behaviour on all of the charges.

It argued there was also insufficient evidence to show that Lee's irritability and agitation were attributable to the major depressive disorder.

Also, the prosecution argued there was not enough evidence to show he had lost control of himself.

Manpower Ministry probing company
Labour relations officers meet worker allegedly hit by supervisor
By Amelia Tan And Cheng Jingjie, The Straits Times, 23 May 2013

THE Manpower Ministry (MOM) is investigating the software company at the centre of an alleged employee abuse scandal.

The ministry said in a statement last night that its labour relations officers yesterday met the worker filmed in a video circulated on YouTube which apparently showed him being hit by his supervisor at Encore eServices.

An MOM spokesman said the meeting was to "find out more about his employment terms as well as possible infringements of the Employment Act".

Investigations by the ministry are ongoing.

The 29-year-old university graduate claimed he was paid only $500 a month during a three-year stint at Encore, despite putting in around 12 hours a day.

He also claimed he did not receive leave or bonuses.

The Employment Act covers employees earning a basic monthly salary of no more than $2,000 and ensures that they are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 44 hours a week. They should also be given annual and sick leave.

The alleged abuse came to light in a 17-second video uploaded on YouTube last Friday. It shows a man, identified only as Alan, hitting the head of his subordinate continually and using vulgar language towards him.

The video was filmed by a Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) student who was working as an intern at the company. He asked to terminate his internship after the incident.

Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that Alan is the owner of Encore, a firm registered under the name of Mr Lee Yew Nam.

The alleged victim told Lianhe Wanbao he was under the impression that he was joining a sizeable company because his supervisor said it had many departments. But he went on to find that Encore's Jurong East office was the size of just three carpark spaces.

He added that the company had no full-time staff and only employed one or two interns.

When The Straits Times visited Encore's one-room office in Jurong East yesterday, it was locked and empty.

Workers in the same building said nobody had turned up for work at the company this week.

A woman at Encore's other office in Lavender denied that Mr Lee worked there.

Universities said they conduct checks on companies offering internships to their students.

SIM, for example, carries out background checks on the firms and meets relevant staff. Its spokesman said this "ensures that we collaborate only with bona fide companies and that we find the right fit for our students".

Companies must sign an agreement with SIM to ensure that the internship experience is productive and beneficial for both parties. Company supervisors must also agree to provide mentors for students and give them meaningful work of educational value.

Those at SIM must submit a 500-word report after completing their internships.

National Trades Union Congress deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said in a Facebook post yesterday that physical abuse of employees should not be condoned. He said: " I urge the police and the Ministry of Manpower to investigate the case thoroughly, help the victim seek recourse and press for deterrent action against the culprit."

When internships go wrong

Many keep quiet for fear of getting a bad review of their performance
By Amelia Tan and Joanna Lee, The Straits Times, 24 May 2013

UNIVERSITY student "CK" is interning at an advertising agency and has fallen ill several times because he has to work until the wee hours almost every other day with little sleep.

He was burnt out by the second month of his stint but did not tell his boss as he feared angering him and failing the six-month internship programme arranged by his university.

CK must pass the internship programme in order to graduate. " I am very tired. But I tell myself this is temporary and I am just counting down to the end of my internship at the end of June," said the 24-year-old who asked not to give his full name.

The treatment of interns is under the spotlight after a YouTube video apparently showed an employee being hit repeatedly on his head by his supervisor at software company Encore eServices.

The 29-year-old worker first worked at the firm as an intern for six months, then became a full- time employee for 2 1/2 years.

The video was filmed by a Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) student who was working as an intern there. He asked to terminate his internship after the incident.

About 10 interns interviewed by The Straits Times said they face issues including long hours - often more than 12 hours a day, late payment of salaries or not receiving their full pay.

However they said physical and verbal abuse is rare.

Universities told The Straits Times they have not received major complaints about internships from their students. The National University of Singapore said it selects and evaluates companies and students before matching them for internships. Before embarking on their internships, Singapore Management University students are given a list of contact details of staff to get in touch with if they face any issues.

However interns say their schools are unaware of the unhappiness they face in workplaces, as the interns will often keep silent to avoid getting getting a bad review of their work performance. Some said they were worried that complaining would give them a bad reputation and affect their chances of landing a good job.

Ms LF Ng, 19, a fresh poly graduate, said her lecturer did nothing after she complained that the animation company she interned at for three months last year did not pay her on time.

Human resource experts agreed that some interns may find it hard to speak up because they feel companies are "doing them a favour by offering them a job".

Singapore Human Resource Institute executive director David Ang said schools should work closely with firms to design internships that are fruitful for both students and companies.

He said he has heard of logistics companies getting interns to move goods around for a substantial part of their programmes.

Some companies, such as law firms, also get interns to spend most of their time photocopying. Mr Ang said: "Interns can be doing this kind of work for part of their time at the company. But they should also have other duties which allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the company and its work."

Meanwhile, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that the 29-year-old former employee of Encore has been offered jobs by four companies.


- Long hours, often more than 12 hours a day
- Late payment of salaries or not receiving full pay
- Worry over getting a bad reputation in the industry if they complain

* Boss charged over abuse of employee
By Elena Chong, The Straits Times, 6 Mar 2014

A SOFTWARE company director whose assault on his employee went viral on YouTube and caused a public uproar was charged in court yesterday.

Lee Yew Nam, a director of Encore eServices, faces six charges - most of which were for slapping and punching 30-year-old Calvin Chan Meng Hock.

One of the charges is for using abusive words.

The alleged abuse came to light after it was uploaded on YouTube and posted on popular forum HardwareZone last May by an intern at the company - raising the ire of many netizens.

Lee, 43, is accused of slapping Mr Chan at his Jurong Town Hall Road office some time between July 2010 and January 2011.

In January last year, he allegedly again slapped Mr Chan on his face.

A month later, he allegedly punched Mr Chan several times and pushed him, causing him to fall off his chair.

Lee is also accused of having grabbed and pushed Mr Chan's chin on May 14 last year.

The next day, Lee, whose case has been adjourned till March 26, is said to have punched Mr Chan on the head and slapped his face three times.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine on each charge.

After the video went public, Mr Chan, who had worked as an intern for six months before joining full-time for 21/2 years, filed a complaint with the Manpower Ministry.

He no longer works for the company.

Lee Yew Nam, the information technology company manager whose assault on his employee went viral on YouTube, pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, August 17, 2015

The boss of an IT company who was caught on camera slapping an intern repeatedly had been suffering from major depression at the time, a doctor says.
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Thursday, January 28, 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment