Winning severance in the labour court
I have lived in Thailand for 14 years and worked in international schools for 13 years. I love my life in Thailand and was awarded Thai citizenship in 2017. I was over the moon with this and it was one of my proudest achievements. Unfortunately this marked the beginning of a long labour dispute with my former employer.
The Private School Act states that foreign teachers can be employed on fixed term contracts but Thai teachers must be employed on non fixed term contracts. The act also removed the entitlement of foreign teachers to severance at the end of their fixed term contract.
At the time I had worked for the same international school for 9 years and 4 months. The headmaster decided to offer me a fixed term contract in December for the next academic year. I pointed out that this was not in line with the Private School Act in the case of Thai nationals. He then offered me a non fixed term contract but removed my bonus, flight allowance and end of contract relocation allowance. I pointed out that this broke labour law but the school simply ignored this point.
To cut a very long story short the case went to the labour court in Chonburi. The school offered 4 months pay as severance as they argued I had only been a Thai citizen for 12 months. I asked for 10 months pay as severance for my 10 years of service. I also submitted the Judgement of the Supreme Court,
This case involved 7 plaintiffs taking an international school to court for non payment of severance in which the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the 7 plaintiffs. As a result the judge sided with me and agreed I was due full severance for my 10 years of employment plus interest.
I hope my story and the case number I have provided helps other teachers who find themselves in a difficult situation as regards their employment contracts. If a contract isn't renewed then severance is due. In addition, an employer can't offer a contract with worse terms than the previous contract and again severance will be awarded by the court.