Indian-origin man awarded $2.9 million after bad reference cost him job

Ramesh Krishnan (Photo courtesy: Singapore Straits Times: ONG WEE JIN)
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Singapore– An Indian-origin man here has got 4 million Singaporean dollars (US $2.9 million) in damages from his previous employer after a scathing reference letter by them cost him the chance to get a new job.

Ramesh Krishnan had accused AXA Life Insurance Singapore of defaming him while providing references on his work performance in 2012, the Strait Times reported on Tuesday.

Justice George Wei noted on Monday that the stands of both parties had been “polar opposites” when it came to damages. Ramesh had sought 63 million Singaporean dollars, while AXA urged he should be awarded only a nominal sum of 1 Singaporean dollar.

Krishnan lost his initial defamation suit in 2015, but the Court of Appeal later ruled that AXA had breached its duty of care to him, the report said.

Ramesh Krishnan (Photo courtesy: Singapore Straits Times: ONG WEE JIN)

The court had also noted AXA’s breach of duty led Prudential Assurance Company Singapore not to hire Ramesh.

When the firm in which Krishnan had applied for a job asked AXA for the reference, it wrote back saying: “He showed a very poor 13th month persistency rate” — meaning that many of his clients did not stick with their policies — and “we are very concerned as to whether the clients have been provided with proper advice”.

The Court of Appeal said this would have given the mistaken impression that Ramesh was not competent, and did not square with the evidence that he was one of “AXA’s best financial services directors” and it had earlier persuaded him not to resign.

“People must know that justice is served. Somebody must go out there and make a point,” said Ramesh, after the ruling. (IANS)


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