Employment Disputes
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2. I am an office clerk and my boss always orders me to move heavy goods inside the warehouse. I think that this is not commensurate with my job duties because my boss did not specify it duty during the job interview. Can I resign without giving him prior notice or wages in lieu of notice?

With reference to section 10 of the Employment Ordinance, employees can terminate their employment contracts without advance notice or payment in lieu of notice if they:

  1. reasonably fear physical danger by violence or disease when performing job duties;
  2. are subjected to ill-treatment by their employers; or
  3. have been employed for not less than five years and are certified as being permanently unfit for the type of work in their employment.

There is a High Court case (William Barry Preen v Industries Polytex Ltd.) which could help explain the circumstances of ill-treatment by employer. In this case the victim, who was an assistant general manager of a company, was being asked by the company to resign. After his refusal to resign, he was ordered to work in a dyeing room instead of an office. Also, he was ordered to vacate his independent apartment provided by the company, and had to share a quarter of the same size with other staff. The Court viewed that those arrangements had caused substantial changes in the employment conditions to the detriment of employee, and they were made with bad faith and in a disrespectful manner.

If you can justify that the moving of heavy goods will cause you physical danger or that such order constitutes serious ill treatment of you, then you can resign without giving advance notice or wages in lieu of notice.