Summary dismissal in Hong Kong — an expensive lesson learnt

By Pattie Walsh and Naveen Qureshi

While an employer might feel compelled to immediately dismiss an employee in situations of perceived gross misconduct, employers should exercise caution following the recent case of Grant David Vincent Williams v Jefferies Hong Kong Ltd [2013] HKEC 1084, where the employer, who was found to have wrongfully terminated the employment of a senior employee, was criticised for leaving its former employee ‘high and dry.’

Although there is no concept of ‘unfair dismissal’ in Hong Kong, this case examines at the interplay between termination and an employer’s implied duty of trust and confidence.

The defendant, Jefferies Hong Kong Ltd, is a subsidiary of global investment banking firm Jefferies LLC and the plaintiff, Grant David Vincent Williams, was the managing director, head of equity trading Asia, of Jefferies HK…

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