23rd August, 2014
Law Society Staff Who Opposes Ambrose Lam Got Fired
Supervisor: Chairman is the King, He can do Whatever He Wants Behind Closed Doors
Although Ambrose Lam San-keung, former Chairman of the Law Society who praised China’s Communist Party as “Great”, stepped down after a non-confidence vote recently, the storm is yet to subside. An employee of the society’s secretariat office is fired soon after she expressed her discontent with Lam’s comments. She was asked to resign because of her “poor performance”, and she was later on fired. Some lawyers of the society were disgusted by the society’s action and wrote reference letter to support her next job move.
Alison (alias) was a manager of the member service department for the Law Society’s secretariat office. Last Thursday (14/Aug), over 2,700 lawyers voted for the non-confidence motion on Ambrose Lam and demanded his resignation. The day after the vote, only seven days before completing her probation period, Alison received a notification from Wendy Lee Yuk-wing, the director of her department, asked Alison to resign seven days after the letter was issued stating the reasons for such request as she “failed to complete her assignments” and “failed to work independently”.
During her three months at the Law Society, claimed Alison, she has always completed her tasks on time or even before deadlines, and Wendy Lee had never made any complains about her performance. Alison suspects that her dismissal was related to expressing her “political stance” in office.
According to Alison, she was talking to Lee in July about the news reports on Ambrose Lam’s comments on China’s White Paper about One-Country Two-Systems and praising China’s Communist Party as “great”. Alison expressed to Lee that she thinks the Chairman of the society should not put his personal opinion above the society because of any personal interest. In response to Alison’s comment, Lee said, “the Chairman has the right to make these comments”. Alison pressed Lee to explain the statement, and Lee got irritated and said, “in the Law Society, the Chairman is the King, he can do whatever he wants behind closed doors”.
After this incident, Lee’s attitude towards Alison did not changed substantially. All members of staff from the member service department of the society were asked to provide support at the special members’ meeting on 14/Aug, except for Alison and another member of the team who took sick leave on the day. The day after the meeting, Alison was “asked to resign”.
Alison demanded Lee for the reasons for the decision. The person at the human resources department, who was in charge of this case, emailed and called Lee to seek clarification of the decision. However, no response was given. On the same afternoon, the Law Society provided seven days of pay as compensation and demanded her immediate dismissal. Alison claimed that many members of the society were surprised about this decision, some even called to express their concern and wrote her very positive reference letters, which stressed that Alison always complete her tasks on time and is capable of finishing her work by herself. Reference letters also stressed that she is thoughtful and is good at expressing herself.
Alison is currently doing a part-time PhD degree in law at Chinese University, and plans to get qualified. She said that lawyers should be able to tell right from wrong and speak up for injustice, but the Law Society is all about rule by people, “The Council (of the Law Society) is just like an imperial court, and the evilness comes from the very top and fuels downwards.”
The Law Society refused to comment on human resources matter but stressed that there are individuals who manage the process rigorously.