Sara Lau Partner

Contact
T +603 2081 3999 ext 919
E sara.lau@skrine.com
 

Overview

Sara is a partner in the firm’s Employment and Immigration practice. As an all-rounded employment lawyer, Sara handles both litigation and advisory matters. Her practice not only includes regularly acting for employers in unjust dismissal claims and other employment related contentious matters in all levels of courts in Malaysia, but also extends to providing practical, pragmatic and relevant advice in all areas of employment law, including employment related immigration and tax law. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge in handling and advising on human resources matters such as reorganisation and right-sizing, retrenchment and redundancy, closure of business, voluntary and mutual separation schemes, discipline and misconduct, sexual harassment, performance management, employee investigations, trade union recognition and collective bargaining, employee hiring and onboarding, employment documentation and dismissal and termination from employment. Sara also regularly assists and advises on employment issues arising from mergers and acquisitions, including in relation to transition of employees and the holistic integration of employment policies, work culture, and terms and conditions of employment.

Sara was part of the key team of employment lawyers who provided quick and updated advice on the various labour issues that arose out of the Covid-19 pandemic, including in relation to remote working, flexible working, unpaid leave and forced leave, alternations to terms and conditions of employment such as salary and benefits, mandatory vaccination and personal data and occupational safety and health obligations in an employment context. Sara also has extensive experience in advising clients on unfair work practices and legal compliance, including in performing labour audits, employment investigations and employment due diligence.

Sara’s other key practice areas also include civil litigation and acting for medical practitioners in negligence and malpractice matters.

 

Key Practice Areas

  • Employment Disputes
  • Employment Advisory and Compliance
  • Employee Fraud Management & Investigations
  • Bribery & Corruption
  • Medical Negligence
  • Immigration
  • Civil Litigation
  • Professional Liability
 

  • Advised and acted for a national development financial institution in an unjust dismissal claim filed by its former CEO for breaching internal policies and procedures.

  • Independently advised and acted for a Singapore public-listed company in an unjust dismissal claim filed by the employee following termination from employment for breaching various suspension orders including by way of trespass, theft and intimidation.

  • Successfully and independently advised and acted for a Port in Malaysia in a judicial review of an award of the Industrial Court in relation to the dismissal of an employee for misconduct.

  • Successfully acted for an MNC in the IT Industry in unjust dismissal claims filed by its employees following retrenchment from employment.

  • Assisted and acted for an MNC in the insurance industry on the termination of agency agreements wherein the agents alleged themselves to be employees of the MNC.

  • Assisted and acted for a large advertising company in relation to the dismissal of a high-ranking employee during probation.

  • Assisted and acted for companies in trade union and Collective Agreement disputes.

  • Successfully and independently advised, assisted and acted for a statutory body in a judicial review pertaining to the dismissal of an employee for fraudulent conduct.

  • Successfully assisted and acted for a statutory body in a judicial review pertaining to the implementation and execution of public salary schemes.

  • Successfully assisted and acted for a statutory body in a judicial review pertaining to the dismissal of an employee for divulging secret data to third parties for personal gain.

  • Successfully assisted and acted for a statutory body in a judicial review pertaining to double jeopardy punishment.

  • Drafting, reviewing and localising Contracts of Employment (for various categories of employees including non-executive, executive, management and directors, permanent and fixed term, foreign and local), Employment Handbooks, Collective Agreements and all other types of employment policies governing the employment relationship.

  • Advising on and drafting all employment documentation pertaining to misconduct and termination of employment including Show Cause Letters, Warning Letters, Dismissal from Employment Letters, Redundancy Letters, and Deeds of Release.

  • Drafting, coordinating and advising on Voluntary Separation Schemes, Mutual Separation Schemes and Separation Agreements.

  • Drafting Data & Privacy Policies, Confidentiality Policies, Restrictive Covenants, intellectual property and confidential information clauses and Non-Disclosure Agreements in accordance with applicable law.

  • Providing immediate practical written and verbal advice and management strategies to corporations and companies involving summary termination, medical boarding out, poor performance, retrenchment, separation, compliance with labour law and practice and the legal employment status of independent contractors.

  • Coordinated investigations and interviews into allegations of misconduct including in relation to internal fraud, theft of confidential information and intellectual property and sexual harassment.

  • Performed reviews of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery policies, whistleblowing policies, anti-retaliation policies, codes of conduct, open door policies and providing advice on internal fraud management in high profile and highly sensitive matters.

  • Advised, assisted and provided support to corporations and companies in relation to employees and employment law concerns in transfer of business and share acquisition.

  • Providing advice and assistance on international work authorisations, obtaining of immigration work visas and employment of expatriate and foreign individuals.

  • Providing advice and assistance on Covid19 work restrictions, applicable Standard Operating Procedures, vaccinations and mass testing.

  • Performing on-site investigation and advising on suspected misconduct, non-compliance with internal process and procedure and claims of toxic work environment by a high ranking member of senior management in a national development financial institution.

  • Leading, participating and advising on suspected theft and redistribution of raw materials and conflict of interest by a senior manager of an international ceiling systems production company.

  • Performing remote investigations and advising on employee misconduct, misbehaviour, unhealthy work practices, harassment and claims of a toxic work environment by a key manager.

  • Assists and advises clients in risk management, drafting and revising relevant whistleblowing policies, anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies, no-gift policies and procedures to be undertaken to avoid corporate liability for bribery and corruption.

  • Represented as junior counsel for a doctor in a Malaysian Medical Council Inquiry on a comment made in his medical report on the conduct of another doctor.

  • Acted and represented as junior counsel for a doctor in a medical negligence claim relating to spinal surgery.

  • Acted as junior counsel for a doctor in a medical negligence suit in the High Court relating to kidney failure.

  • Represented a doctor in a Malaysian Medical Council Inquiry in relation to medical malpractice.

  • Advised and assisted a wide range of clients including multinational corporations that employ foreign employees in Malaysia or that second/assign such employees to Malaysia, in obtaining the relevant work permits for the employees, as well as dependant passes for such employees’ family members.

  • Advised and assisted in other immigration advisory work including on the employment of expatriates and foreign workers and on the issuance of various types of valid passes for long term stay in Malaysia.

  • Provide pro bono legal advice on applicability of Immigration law to foreign volunteers.

  • Assisted in representing stateless individuals to obtain citizenship.

  • Acted as counsel for criminal breaches of immigration laws.

  • Assisted and acted as junior counsel for a Member of Parliament in a defamation matter involving a defamatory article published in a renowned local newspaper.

  • Assisted and acted as junior counsel for a GLC in relation to breach of contract in delivery of rice.

  • Independently managed and handled a trial matter pertaining to the existence of a contract for services.

  • Assisted and acted as junior counsel for a corporation seeking to set aside an Arbitration Award.

  • Assisted and advised clients in relation to debt recovery.

  • Assisted and acted as junior counsel for a company in relation to a pre-action discovery application.

Qualifications:
  • Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya (2013)
  • Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn) (2012)
  • LL.B (Hons), University of Reading (2011)

Publications:
  • Co-author, Malaysian Civil Procedure, Sweet & Maxwell, 2021
  • Co-author, Malaysian Civil Procedure, Sweet & Maxwell, 2017.
  • Co-author, Malaysian Chapter, International Comparative Guide to Corporate Immigration, 2017.
  • Co-author, Malaysian Civil Procedure, Sweet & Maxwell, 2015.
  • Co-author, Malaysian Civil Procedure, Sweet & Maxwell, 2013.
  • Author, “A Remedy for Transgression – A Global Discussion”, Skrine’s Legal Insights.
  • Author, “The Doctrine of Non-Delegable Duty of Care”, Skrine’s Legal Insights.
  • Author, “Old Wine in New Wineskin”, Skrine’s Legal Insights.
  • Author, “Hello? Is this Thing On?”, Skrine’s Legal Insights
  • Contributor, Practical Law Global Guides – Doing Business in Malaysia 2020 (Employment & Immigration)
  • Contributor, Practical Law Global Guides – Doing Business in Malaysia 2021 (Employment & Immigration)
Talks:
  • Speaker for SkrineCast podcast, “Performance Management 101: Steps, Strategies and Tips for Success”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Managing Occupational & Health Risks: Operating Your Business Safely During the COVID19 Pandemic”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Housekeeping: Disciplinary Action Against Employees [Parts 1 & 2]”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Covid19 Pandemic: Government’s Attempts to Reduce the Impact – How Effective Would That Be?”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Taking a Jab at It – Back to Work Safely”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Lexis Nexis & Earthworm Foundation Seminar on Child Rights in Palm Oil Industry, “Legal Considerations relating to Children on Oil Palm Plantations: What are the Risks/ Liabilities?”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Employment in the time of Covid-19: Part 2”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for Skrine Webinar, “Covid-19 & The Future of Work”;
  • Panellist and Speaker for EUMCCI Biz Talks, “Employment in the Time of Covid-19”;
  • Emcee and Moderator for MSLSSL Employment Virtual Conference 2020, “Covid-19: Coping with New Realm of Realities”;
  • Speaker for Damansara Utama Methodist Church BizConsult Webinar, “Surviving Lockdown: Measures for Employers”;
  • Speaker for MySeminars Medico-Legal Webinar Series 2020,  “In Times of a Pandemic: The Infectious Diseases Act & Covid-19”;
  • Speaker for MySeminars Medico & Pharmaco Conference 2019, “How to be A Better Medical Expert: 5 Top Tips”; and
  • Speaker for MySeminars Medico-Legal Conference 2017, “Common Issues that can Turn into Clinical Negligence”.