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Business Law Case Study

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Zhang, Wang and Chang are train drivers. Being unhappy about their work hours and pay, they decided to go on a strike. Not only did they tried to rope in other train drivers, refusals of some to partake in the strike were threatened with bodily harm. In the following, I will discuss the offences of the three china train drivers. The first offence would be going on a strike.

According to section 6 of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (Chapter 67), it is said that a workman in any other essential services cannot go on strike unless he has given to his employer 14 days’ notice of his intention to strike. This 14 days’ of notice should be given so that some sort of emergency arrangements can be made to ensure a minimum service necessary for the well-being of the public(WFS, 2013., para. 13). Essential services includes those in water, gas and electricity services, public transport, banking, fire services, drug enforcement, civil defence, pollution, newspaper services, and refuse collection. (Wong, T (n.d. )). Zhang, Wang and Chang are train drivers in Singapore and are considered working for the public transport sector. Public transport is defined as an essential service in the Act and in which Zhang, Wang and Chang failed to give their 14 days of notice. “In an effort to make them succumb to their demands” shows that they did not have any intention to make known to the relevant authority regarding their unhappiness over their work hours and salaries.

By going on a strike they wanted to “force” the authorities to give in to them as they knew that the public transport system would be affected without them. As a result, without the 14 days of notice, they caused disruption to the essential services of the country. From this, we can conclude that Zhang, Wang and Chang took matters into their own hands by going on an illegal strike out of dissatisfaction and anger. The second offence would be the breaching of employment contract. A breach of contract is an example of a “civil wrong” wherein a legally binding agreement is not honoured as it should be as stipulated in the contract or any signed agreement between two parties. In matters of business, a breach of contract can be executed whenever the non-performing party puts the conduct and the activities of the business at risk due to non-compliance to the agreements(SLFS, 2013., para 2)).

In regards to the first issue, Zhang, Wang and Chang are hired to be train drivers in Singapore and not hired to go on an illegal strike. Being considered as an essential service worker, they have caused disruption to the public service, breaching their employment of contract. Thirdly, the three train drivers have also incited other train drivers to join in the strike. Under section 10 of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (Chapter 67), instigation is any person, who incites others to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a strike or lock-out. In relation to the second issue, Zhang, Wang and Chang in an effort to “force” authorities succumb to their demands, instigated to ask other train drivers to join in their illegal strike. The fourth offence would be the threatening with bodily harm of those drivers that refused to partake in the strike.

Under section13(c) of the Miscellaneous offences(Public Order and Nuisance) Act (Chapter 184), any person who uses towards another person threatening or abusive is a form of fear or provocation of violence. If one of the parties is forced to make the contract by violence or the threat of violence, that is duress(Barton v Armstrong1976). According to the passage, refusals of those to partake were threatened with bodily harm by the three china train drivers. Threatening to inflict bodily injury upon another may amount to criminal intimidation under section 503 of the Penal Code(SLA, n.d., para.1)). In conclusion, Zhang, Wang and Chang have committed the offence of strike, breach of employment of contract, instigation and duress. These are 4 offences under the Singapore Law and they may be held liable to punishments under the criminal law.

Komola dined in a restaurant and after finding remains of a half eaten lizard in her food, she choked and due to a heart attack condition suffered serious stroke. She became paralysed and has become bed ridden. The issue in the passage is whether Komola(plaintiff), can hold the restaurant(defendant) liable for the incident and the measure of damages that she can claim. If we look into the law of torts, there is a tort of negligence. Negligence involves the defendant breaching a recognized standard of duty to the plaintiff and the plaintiff suffering an injury as a result (Straniere, Philip S, n.p.). The law of negligence has 3 elements. The first is a duty of care; breach of that duty; and lastly, the damage (or loss) resulting from that breach. Under the first element, the duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring that they adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others(Lange, P.R. 2014.).

In the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson(1932), Lord Atkin said “The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law you must not injure your neighbour”. In this case, it is reasonable that the defendant owes a duty of care towards all their customers that dines in their restaurant, including the plaintiff. Failure to ensure this duty of care is a breach of duty. It is the defendant’s duty to ensure that proper hygiene is maintained and it is reasonable to ensure that customers do not get served remains of a lizard in their food. This breach of the defendant’s duty had caused the plaintiff to suffer damages. Komola would not have suffered a stroke if she had not eaten the remains of a lizard. However, can the defendant be held liable for the damages since the plaintiff has a heart attack condition history before she stepped into the restaurant? Under the ‘thin skull rule’, a person shall be held liable for all the damages he/she causes to another, even though that person is considerably weaker than a normal person.

Had not for the discovery of the lizard in the food, Komola would not have suffered a stroke and become paralyzed and bedridden (Smith v Leech Brain & Co(1962). The result of the damages left Komola bed-ridden and can no longer practise the law. Komola may seek compensation under special damages. Special damages are out-of-pocket costs directly as the result of the breach of contract, negligence or other wrongful act by the defendant. Special damages can include medical bills, repairs and replacement of property, loss of wages and other damages which are not speculative or subjective. They are distinguished from general damages, in which there is no evidence of a specific dollar figure (Gerald & Kathleen, H.). In conclusion, the Indian restaurant may be held liable for the damages of Komola. Komola may also seek compensation for the losses she have incurred, and will incur in the future.

Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CHAPTER 67). (2000). Retrieved from http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;page=0;query=DocId%3A%

WFS. (2013). SMRT Bus Drivers’ Strike: Liu Xiang Ying and Gao Yue Qiang’s Mitigation Plea. Retrieved from http://workfairsingapore.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/smrt-bus-drivers-strike-liu-xiang-ying-and-gao-yue-qiangs-mitigation-plea/ SLFS, 2013., Breach of Contracts and other Legal Problems Retrieved from http://lawfirmsociety.wordpress.com/category/breach-of-contract/ Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act (CHAPTER 184). (1997). Retrieved from http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;page=0;query=DocId%3A%22ca5b9bd4-5b2e-4b42-9349-a5aaf258d9a4%22%20Status%3Ainforce%20Depth%3A0;rec=0 SLA. (n.d.). What is someone threatens me with words? Retrieved from http://singaporelegaladvice.com/what-if-someone-threatens-me-with-words/ Lange, P.R (2014) Page 105 of study guide

Straniere, Philip S. Filing & Winning Small Claims for Dummies. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Gerald & Kathleen, H. (n.p) The people’s law dictionary Retrieved from http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1985

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