Employer’s duty of care in Singapore

15 August 2017

The Duty of Care in an Employer-Employee Relationship

1. Introduction

We acted for Ramesh s/o Krishnan (“Ramesh”), a former insurance agent of AXA Life Insurance Pte Ltd (“AXA”) who was awarded $4 million in damages after the Court of Appeal found that AXA’s negligence had breached its employer’s duty of care to its employee, our client, when providing an employment reference.

2. Background

In Ramesh s/o Krishnan v AXA Life Insurance Pte Ltd [2016] 4 SLR 1124, the court highlighted that the employers owe employees a duty of care in the preparation of reference checks to future prospective employers.

Ramesh was employed by AXA since 2005. He rose to the rank of a senior financial services director in 2009. He started as an adviser and financial services associate manager in 2005. Ramesh had received multiple awards and accolades. He was one of AXA’s best compensated advisers, just two months before his departure from AXA.

Ramesh went on to apply to join Prudential Assurance Company Singapore Pte Ltd (“Prudential”) and Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Limited (“Tokio Marine”). As required by Monetary Authority of Singapore to obtain Representative Notification Framework, Prudential requested for a reference from AXA. AXA returned with a scathing reference of Ramesh, alleging that Ramesh had poor record in terms of persistency rations and ethical conduct. Subsequently, both Prudential and Tokio Marine declined Ramesh’s application for employment.

Ramesh was awarded $4 million for loss of earnings from the negligence on the part of AXA.

3. Eugene was quoted in The Straits Times

The Straits Times quoted Eugene Thuraisingam

“Prudential would have hired him but for AXA’s negligence.”