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Foreign Employment rights and employer responsibilities

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:44:11 PM  (Last updated: Sun, 08 Oct 2017 07:46:36 AM)

I am desperately in need of assistance, as I am very confused about what to do and whom to report to about my current situation.  I am also in utter disbelief that any of this has taken place. 


I have been in an ongoing "battle" with my employer since September 13.  I am a USA citizen employed to work as an English teacher in Malaysia.  I arrived in late August and things began odd and have even gotten much “stranger” to say the least.

Upon arrival I was put up in a hotel for a few days then move into a co-workers home that was dirty, had no hot water, no refrigerator space, and my house mate / co-worker turned into a hostile, nasty person with a few days.  

I reported this to my principle and said I needed to move out as it was not suitable and would destroy a working relationship.  I even sent an email to my Human Resources Manager about my living conditions, having no bank account, and no transportation.  I was carrying around my pay all in cash, could not find rides, and living in an awful place that was leaving me in tears.  

The housemate situation exploded, I left called my principle informed him I felt extremely unsafe and asked that he come with me or call the police to get my things.  He picked me up with his toddler asleep in the car, I packed an overnight bag in a panic and he told me to buy a plane ticket back home.  He dropped me off at an expensive hotel I could not afford and left.  This occurred on September 16 and I have not been into work since.  

I contacted a local whom I had just met for assistance.   I spent 3 days in a very uncomfortable situation staying with him; I am not a tramp who rooms with random men.  I was sick and spent 3 days trying to contact my employer for shelter, my belonging and a visit to a doctor.  After three days they gave me an address to a clinic, came and picked me up and verbally stated I was terminated.  They took me to a hotel and told hotel staff I was staying for 3 days then flying home.  

As I am trying to keep this email short the following is a time line of events:  

- I arrived in Malaysia on August 23, was hired by them in June to begin work August 1 and was paid for the month of August in full as I should have been here but the paper work was delayed on their part.

- I am fully legal to work in Malaysia

- August 27 I moved in with my co-worker  

- September 5 I informed my principle verbally I needed new accommodations, transportation and a bank account as I was carrying around all my pay in cash.  Could not find transportation to work, I live in an area where a vehicle is a needed, and my living situation was horrible.

- September 13 I wrote an email to my Human Resources director about my needs accommodations, bank account, and transportation.

- September 14 my bank account was opened.

- September 16 I had to leave my living space as my roommate became hostile and threatening, I did not feel safe.  My principle dropped me off at a hotel and told me to buy a plane ticket home.  I had no money and only an overnight bag.  I called the police and tried to make a report but they would not allow me to make one.  I left the hotel to stay with a local I had just met.

- September 16, 17, and 18 I was staying in the company of a local man I had just met. I was not able to contact any of my employers.  I phoned, texted, and sent emails.  I was sick and in need of health care.

- September 19 I was sent an address to a clinic by my employer.  I went to the clinic and my managers picked me up and informed me verbally I was terminated, I would stay at the hotel for 3 days and leave for home on Friday September 22.  We would get my things that night from my last place of resident, and tomorrow I would pay them back money in cash.  I felt unsafe in this, I was sick and called the USA Embassy who stated not to go and to call the police.  

- September 20 I called the police and they allowed me to make a report about what occurred on September 16.  It was horrible I was sick had a fever, all my managers were present.  First we all met at the hotel lobby and had a very loud public conversation. Then we all reported to the police station.  Everyone was present while I was making the report, it was read aloud in English and a lot of Malay conversation was happening.  While I was making the report my managers made rude comments, saying they were taking photos and video that I was committing acts of insubordination. I was harassed and questioned by the police; I was doing nothing wrong I was too sick had a fever and I vomited.  

- September 21 because my employer stated I was not terminated I tried to go to work but they would not allow me on the premises.  I again made a police report about this.  If they do not terminate the contact and I leave it is assumed I have terminated the contact and I owe them money.  Later that day Police escorted me to my former place of residence and allowed me less than an hour to pack my things.  I left many things behind and forgot a few items.  I took a photo and my Human Resource Manager stated she would have the items packed and sent to my hotel.  I have never received any of the items.  I was also not allowed into my classroom to obtain any of the items I purchased or my personal belonging. 

 - September 23 I was given a letter of suspension for 14 days for alleged misconduct and recent behavior. Nothing other than that stated. 

- During the last two weeks I have contacted the USA embassy several times for assistance.  My lawyer is confused as to why they are not offering aid.  I am not very knowledgeable about what they do, they are not very helpful.... suggesting I flee the country??

 - I have contacted a lawyer for advice however I have not been terminated yet they will assist after I have?

- Have made over 5 trips to the health clinic because I was given wrong medication and I am still ill

- Have made a report about my treatment by local authorities on the misconduct of civil servants. 

- Made reports to Malaysia Ministry of Education

- Made a report of unfair labor practices to Malaysia State Labor Department

- Made a complaint to Ministry of Human Resources

- I don’t even know who to report to or what actions to take, I am being treated horribly at the hotel I am staying at which has been an absolute mess on whom is paying my hotel bill.  On October 5, I was told by the hotel that my employer is no longer paying my bill and I needed to pay, even though I was reporting to the front desk each day to insure I still had accommodations.  After asking each day I was finally given an invoice on September 27, 28 and October 3.  The invoice on October 3, stated I was paid up until October 7th.  However on October 5 they gave me a letter from my employer dated September 19, that stated I was only staying until October 5….so both my employer and the hotel knew my check out date was October 5 but did not inform me until October 5 at 5PM. 

- Also on October 5 my employer issued me a letter of Domestic Inquiry to be held on October 10 on the following charges which are all complexly bogus:

          1.) Absence without Authorization between September 18 – 20

          2.) Failure to conduct myself with propriety - because I was asking the school for accommodations.

          3.) Willful act of insubordination – because I behaved unprofessionally at the police station

          4.) Caused disharmony in working environment – alleged I refused report to a planning curriculum on August 29 and forced my superior to intervene in a private disagreement with my colleague at her residence. 

I realize this is a lot of information but I am asking for any advice or assistance in pointing me in the correct direction.  I am in complete disbelief that any of this has occurred and the charges against me are bogus.  Any information on holding a Domestic Inquiry would be helpful as well.  The school is extremely small so who would be on the board of this meeting?  Any information on Foreign Employment rights and employer responsibilities would be very helpful.  

Thank you for reading and allowing me to vent.  I welcome comments and suggestions.  

KL Siew
Sat, 07 Oct 2017 03:20:42 PM

Since a DI has been scheduled to be held on 10 Oct., you just have to be present at the DI to defend whatever charges they put against you wait for the outcome of the inquiry. You can refer to Section 14 of the Employment Act for some info about DI.

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 03:42:41 PM

Thank you so much for your response.

Do you know where I can find information concerning the conduct of the meeting.

Also the rights of a foreign employee as my employer delayed on finding me a bank account, refuses to assist with transportation and finding me accommodations. I make over 9,000

KL Siew
Sat, 07 Oct 2017 04:13:28 PM

1. About conducting domestic inquiry, you can personally go to the Industrial Relations Department and talk to the officer there for advice.

2. As for bank account, transport and so on, you will have to fend for yourself or you can contact you embassy for help.

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 04:18:28 PM

Thank you again for your help.  

In any employment abroad it has been my experience that is is implied that your employer would aid you in finding housing (not leaving you on the streets for days) a bank account as I cant be carrying around my pay check in cash and transportation to work.  If I cant get to work then how can I work?  

KL Siew
Sat, 07 Oct 2017 04:25:21 PM

That would be most ideal but your present employer is not cooperating. However, if you have a written contract with the employer with terms and conditions clearly stating all the benefits mentioned by you would be provided by the employer, then you may consider consulting a lawyer for legal advice.

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 04:37:12 PM

Sorry I believe those benefits do not need to be written as they are implied and they were mentioned in verbal communication between my employer and I.  It is also implied for lack of better word choice in the actions they have taken. 

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 07:02:02 PM

I would also like to know of a newspaper or news station within Malaysia that I can report my abuse should be public and others should know of what happens here ....if you know of any that would be much appreciated....thank you

KL Siew
Sun, 08 Oct 2017 07:46:36 AM

Sorry, I am really unable to help.

  This topic is closed