A group of alleged ex-employees of an alternative medicine eye therapy firm in Singapore, has accused their CEO of violating medical rules pertaining to work gatherings at the height of Circuit Breaker. They also claim that he allegedly bullied and wrongfully terminated a female foreign worker in the last quarter of the year.
The female worker, named Catrene Khoo, had allegedly committed suicide. She was reportedly a foreign worker from Penang who worked for the eye therapy company for a few months in 2019.
Who is Catrene Khoo?
According to a report on Singapore Uncensored and the ex-employees of the eye therapy firm, she was a former employee who had allegedly committed suicide on December 19, 2019.
The employees allege through the Facebook page “Save us from SLM Vxxxxxcare Singapore” that Catrene had come to Singapore to work for the eye therapy firm with a valid work permit. She had been working a few months when she filed a leave for December 13 to 18 in 2019 to attend a family event.
This was reportedly approved. But in October, she had to file for an emergency leave for two days after a family member passed away. It was approved by the Human Resources officer of the company, who was the CEO’s wife.
But when she got home, the CEO allegedly began to bombard her phone with messages for her to come back because the leave was not approved. When she reasoned that the leave was approved, the CEO said that his wife’s approval was not acceptable, so she was technically not allowed to take an emergency leave from work.
Because of this, Catrene only spent a few hours at the family member’s wake then returned immediately, to which she was reprimanded. From then on, she was pressured to meet a sales quota and accused of sleeping on the job. The ex-employees belied this, and said that she only slept before her shift and her time at work had not begun for the day when she was caught resting.
The CEO also changed her approved leave to December 14 to 17 instead of her requested dates of December 13-18 because she had allegedly not met her sales quota. She was also pressured on the day before she would have to take her modified leave, and was told that she needed to meet her sales quota and instead not take a leave to do so. When she reluctantly agreed, she was terminated, and asked to pay $1000 for her work permit. The CEO allegedly admitted they wanted her to pay this immediately so that they could file a new work permit for another worker when she leaves.
She went home and allegedly became depressed which lead her to kill herself.
Company alleged Circuit Breaker violations
According to the same Facebook page, the CEO also called meetings during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The employees have alleged that they have sent all important evidence to the Ministry of Manpower.
They complained on the Facebook page that the CEO allegedly called his employees to work at the eye therapy center despite the fact they were not essential workers. He also allegedly packed them into small meeting rooms without any heed to social distancing rules.
Catrene’s parents were reportedly not able to go to Singapore to file cases against the CEO due to Circuit Breaker.