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Thailand - Substantive requirements for dismissals

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - Thailand - 2013    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: No
  • No general obligation to inform the employee of the grounds of dismissal except in the event of an economic dismissal (art. 121 LPA) and of a summary dismissal for misconduct (art. 119 LPA, as amended by LPA-No2 of 2008 (art. 18))

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none
  • - Either party may terminate an employment contract of indefinite duration provided that notice requirements (or pay in lieu of notice) are complied with (art. 17 LPA, as amended by LPA-No2 of 2008 (art. 8)).
    - In addition, art. 121 LPA allows the employer to terminate the an employee due to the restructuring of the work unit, the production process, or the distribution or provision of services, resulting from the introduction or change of machinery or technology thus making it necessary to reduce the number of employees. In such cases, specific notifications requirements apply (see below under "Procedural requirements for collective dismissals for economic reasons")
    - Lastly, the law authorizes disciplinary dismissals without notice. According to art. 583 CC, an employer may dismiss an employee who wilfully disobeys or habitually neglects the lawful commands of his or her employer; absents himself or herself from service; is guilty of gross misconduct; or otherwise acts in a manner incompatible with the due and faithful discharge of his or her duties.
    See also Art. 119 LPA, as amended by LPA-No2 of 2008 (art. 18)) which provides that severance pay is not due an employee whose dismissal arises because he or she:
    * has been dishonest on duty;
    * has deliberately committed a criminal offence against the employer; * has intentionally caused damage to the employer;
    * has violated working rules or lawful orders from the employer;
    * has been absent for three consecutive working days without justification;
    * has caused serious damage to the employer due to negligence; or
    * has been sentenced to imprisonment

Prohibited grounds: pregnancy; filing a complaint against the employer; trade union membership and activities
  • - The LRA prohibits as an unfair practice the termination of employment by the employer (art. 121 LRA):
    * on the ground that the employee is a member of the trade union;
    * of certain persons (listed below) carrying out functions of the labour relations machinery for certain acts related to the fulfilment of their duties; and
    * on the ground that the employees or the labour union are about to undertake such acts.
    The persons specifically referred to are employees, employees' representatives, committee members of the labour union or of the labour federation. The specified acts are calling a rally, filing a petition, submitting a claim, filing a lawsuit or negotiating it, appearing as a witness before or producing evidence to competent officials under the law on labour protection, the Registrar, labour dispute conciliators, labour dispute arbitrators, labour relations committee members, or the labour court.
    - On the prohibition of termination of employment on the ground of pregnancy, see art. 43 LPA.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives
  • - The employer cannot, except with the approval of the Labour Court, terminate employment of, or reduce the wages of, or punish a member of an employees' committee (art. 52 LRA). Such committees are set up by employees in establishments employing at least 50 employees (art. 45 LRA).
    - It is generally unlawful for an employer to terminate the employment or transfer the duties of the employees, their representatives, the committee members, subcommittee members, or members of the labour union, or committee members or subcommittee members of the labour federation, who are involved in the presentation, negotiation or reconciliation of a request to renegotiate an agreement on conditions of employment. Termination or transfer is, however, lawful if the persons concerned dishonestly perform their duties or wilfully commit a criminal offence against the employer; wilfully cause damage to the employer; neglect work for three consecutive working days without a suitable reason; or violate the rules, regulations or lawful orders of the employer, provided the employer has issued a warning in writing. The written warning is not required in severe cases (art. 31 LRA). The same protection applies to the same employees while an agreement on conditions of employment or equivalent award is in effect, with one additional category of permitted dismissal (i.e. when the employee commits any act of instigation, encouragement or persuasion to violate the agreement on conditions of employment or equivalent arbitration award) (art. 123(5) LRA).