Landmark case set to decide how much Putrajaya must pay for rights breach

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 ― The Federal Court granted leave today in a landmark gender discrimination case to decide how to determine damages for a breach of constitutional rights, which could set a precedent for other such violations by the government.

The plaintiff, Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, posed three questions of law to the apex court to answer: whether damages must be specifically proven when assessing damages for breach of the constitutional right to gender equality under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution; whether the quantum of damages should reflect a sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the constitutional right and the gravity of the breach; and whether the quantum of damages should deter against further breaches.

Noorfadilla had won in 2014 RM300,000 in damages for breach of her constitutional right to gender equality after she sued the government for revoking her appointment as a temporary teacher due to her pregnancy. But the Shah Alam High Court slashed last year her award to RM30,000, claiming that the original sum amounted to a “handsome profit” for the woman.

“It’s really important because so far, we don’t have any case in Malaysia on how to assess the quantum of damages,” Noorfadilla’s lawyer Honey Tan told Malay Mail Online. Read more

Winner of landmark gender equality case gets more damages on appeal

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 23 ― The Court of Appeal today dismissed the government’s claim of profiteering in its bid to contest damages awarded to Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin who successfully sued it for refusing her a temporary teaching job because she was pregnant.

The three-member panel led by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, when reading the judgment, said Noorfadilla was entitled for RM30,000 for breach of constitutional rights as well as RM10,000 for pain and suffering, and RM10,000 for legal costs.

“We dismiss the cross appeal by the defendant and allow the RM30,000 for breach of constitutional protection be maintained as passed in the High Court earlier.

“Because pain and suffering cannot be included together, a separate RM10,000 will be awarded for this and RM10,000 for [legal] costs,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob earlier submitted a cross appeal seeking for Noorfadilla to be denied any damages for pain and suffering.

She argued that there was no concrete evidence to suggest Noorfadilla had suffered from either.

Mohd Zawawi rejected this by saying pain and suffering would befall anyone who was denied their constitutional rights. Read more

Breach of Noorfadilla’s constitutional rights — JAG

Source: The Malay Mail Online

FEBRUARY 19 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is deeply concerned with the judgment of the Shah Alam High Court recently, on damages awarded to Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin. We wish to highlight in particular, the huge reduction of damages made, and the harmful language and justifications used in the judgment passed on February 15th. The message being sent by this judgment is clear, discrimination on the basis of gender faced by Noorfadilla is not of concern to the state.

In this recent ruling, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azimah Omar criticised Noorfadilla for her lack of honesty in disclosing her pregnancy. The use of such language is harmful as it suggests that women must disclose their pregnancy during a job interview, which is not a requirement of Malaysian law, and implies that a woman’s ability to work effectively is inherently linked to her pregnancy status.

Pregnancy, or the desire to have children, bears no challenge on a woman’s ability to perform her job. It is unacceptable that women must disclose their intentions in regards to children to their employer. It is unacceptable that wanting children should be barrier to women’s economic empowerment. Read more

Noorfadilla’s fight for all pregnant women continues

Source: The Malay Mail Online

According to CEDAW, the refusal to employ a woman on the grounds of pregnancy alone was a form of gender discrimination and therefore unconstitutional under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. ― File pic

According to CEDAW, the refusal to employ a woman on the grounds of pregnancy alone was a form of gender discrimination and therefore unconstitutional under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. ― File pic

PETALING JAYA, Feb 19 — It has been a living hell for Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin since she took on the government in 2010 for citing pregnancy as the reason for not employing her as a temporary teacher.

She has been vilified online to the extent of being called, among others things, a prostitute.

Her life turned upside down after she sought legal remedy over the government’s refusal to employ her after finding out she was three months pregnant. Read more

Gender sensitisation training needed, lawyer says after woman’s RM300,000 court win reduced

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Honey Tan (pic), co-counsel for Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, said that there are no legal requirements in Malaysia to disclose pregnancy and that it is also not illegal to ask job candidates if they are pregnant. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Honey Tan (pic), co-counsel for Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, said that there are no legal requirements in Malaysia to disclose pregnancy and that it is also not illegal to ask job candidates if they are pregnant. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — The Shah Alam High Court decision to slash an award of RM300,000 in damages to RM30,000 for a woman in a landmark gender discrimination lawsuit against the government shows there is need to conduct gender sensitisation training, the woman’s lawyer said.

Honey Tan, co-counsel for Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, pointed out that when her client’s case was called for decision in 2014, it was Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar Ahmad Rizki Abdul Jalil who decided on the quantum of the award.

The sum of RM300,000, she said, was never suggested during submissions.

“So to say that there was ‘profiteering’ is quite shocking,” Tan told Malay Mail Online.

“It is not the reduction in the amount of damages that is shocking, but the judicial commissioner’s comments and reasons for her decision.

“It shows clearly that training in gender sensitisation, understanding the applicability of international law and standards, knowledge of Cedaw and understanding state obligations in implementing the principles in Cedaw are urgently needed,” the lawyer said, adding that her client would appeal the ruling. Read more