Indian Expat Sues Company for $1.35 Million After Being Retrenched & Not Being Considered for Other Roles

Suits is coming into action with Mr Vikram Nair from Rajah and Tann on the attack and Wong & Leow on the defence. Who will be the Harvey Specter of today?

The parties in question are Mr Kallivalap Praveen Nair, an ex-employee of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) consumer healthcare, and of course, GSK consumer healthcare themselves.

Mr Praveen Nair was required to relocate to Singapore after he became a global expert director for nutrition and digestive health business at GSK consumer healthcare. He moved from India to Singapore in June 2018, and was retrenched on the basis of redundancy a short two years later.

The Lawsuit

Mr Praveen Nair is now suing GSK consumer healthcare for about $1.35 million on grounds of unfair treatment and the lack of consideration for various roles within the company.

To break it down for you, he is asking for about $1.15 million in reparations for his loss in income as he has been unemployed since June 30, 2020. Another $150,000 has been requested as a shortfall in the amount in his severance package.

The trial began on July 27, with Mr Nair alleging that GSK consumer healthcare breached its employment contract. If he had been given equal treatment and the chance to be considered for other roles, he would likely have secured one, and would not have been made redundant.

Apart from defending, GSK consumer healthcare has gone above and beyond with their counterclaim against Mr Nair, seeking $95,200 from his severance package which they claim was paid by mistake.

Will Mr Praveen Nair rise from the ashes or will he be swallowed by the whale?

The Attack

Representing Mr Praveen Nair, Mr Vikram Nair claimed that GSK consumer healthcare robbed his client the opportunity to be considered for roles with consumer goods company Unilever to which GSK sold its nutrition business to in April 2020.

He further posited that Mr Praveen Nair was intentionally excluded from a list of personnel eligible for assessment for Unilever positions by GSK consumer healthcare in May 2019.

When questioned by Mr Praveen Nair, his manager suggested that this could have stemmed from GSK consumer healthcare’s perception that he could potentially become a threat to GSK consumer healthcare’s own consumer business had he taken up the equivalent of a global expert role in Unilever.

First boosting his ego by making him believe that he is outstanding before tearing the very foundations of his career… I would sympathise with Mr Praveen Nair if I was on the jury.

Citing an email sent by GSK consumer healthcare on June 11, 2019 which announced that Ms Tess Plyer had been appointed to be the new global head of expert marketing, Mr Vikram Nair argued that the role had been created and filled without giving Mr Praveen Nair any opportunity to apply for it. Mr Praveen Nair argued he had not been given any indication prior to the announcement, much less the chance to even try for it.

As GSK consumer healthcare failed to disclose the creation of the new role, the Nairs have argued that they are in breach of their employment agreement.

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The Defence

Defending GSK consumer healthcare, Wong and Leow said that in contrary to Mr Praveen Nair’s claims, he had been invited to several interviews, but was just ultimately not selected by the firm because he was found unsuitable.

He was also given a notice period as contractually provided for in the employment contract, and thus was not treated unfairly.

The trial is still ongoing.

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Featured Image: Singapore Criminal Lawyer