Pump attendant accidentally puts petrol into diesel vehicle, told to pay S$1500 damages by employer,

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Singapore — A Caltex petrol station pump attendant accidentally placed S$20 worth of petrol into a diesel vehicle, resulting in damages worth over S$1,500.

Following the mistake on Jan 21, the pump attendant was initially told that he had to pay around S$400 for the repair costs.

However, he was told about a week later that the total increased to more than S$1,500, which would be paid to the customer.

According to a Channel News Asia (CNA) report on Friday (Jan 28), the amount included the rental car the affected customer used while his vehicle was in the workshop, parking fees and all transport-related costs incurred.

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The pump attendant told CNA that S$1,500 would be deducted from his salary if he failed to pay by Friday.

He reportedly sounded anxious for fear of losing his job because he did not pay the amount.

Meanwhile, the former boss of the pump attendant who managed a petrol station before revealed that petrol stations have insurance coverage.

He added that anything below S$500 would usually be covered by insurance.

“I have told (the pump attendant) that should he receive any reprimand from his boss, I am able to provide him with a job,” said the former boss after the pump attendant went to him for advice.

“He has always been a good worker (so) this is the least I can do.”

Chevron Singapore, the company that oversees Caltex, said that a third-party provider operates the petrol station in question.

However, the petrol station’s approach to the incident is said to be unaligned with Chevron’s fair employment practices.

“As soon as we became aware of this incident, we reached out to the service provider and clarified that imposing financial penalties on their employee is not aligned with Chevron’s values on fair employment practices,” said the company to CNA.

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“Chevron has also reached out to assure the pump attendant that he would not be required to pay for the cost of the incident.”

Responding to the news, members from the online community highlighted that the employer was “pulling a fast one on the employee,” based on the allowable salary deductions stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

“If you are covered by the Employment Act, your employer can deduct your salary only for specific reasons,” said MOM on its website.

For damage or loss of money or goods, employers can’t deduct more than 25 per cent of the staff’s one-month salary. The employer should also not make any deductions until the staff at fault has had the opportunity to explain the cause of the damage or loss.

“Strongly suggest MOM to investigate this employer for unauthorised wage deductions. The fact that this happened once probably means it might have happened before,” said a Facebook user in a comment.

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Another netizen added, “Pump attendants are supposedly employees, and their employers have to bear vicarious liability. Classic case of bullying by the employer.”

“If the pump attendants are engaged as contractors, then the pump attendant, in this case, is liable.” /TISG

Read related: Shanmugam: Competence, not skin colour, race or gender, should be basis for employment

Shanmugam: Competence, not skin colour, race or gender, should be basis for employment

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