An amendment to the Thai Civil Procedure Code was announced in the Thai Royal Gazette on 8 April 2015. This is a significant development for employers in Thailand; when the amendment takes effect on 4 December 2015, employees will have the right to bring an action as a class against employers for breach of labour rights.
Broadly, the amendment allows for a class action suit to be brought for wrongful act, breach of contract, and cases relating to a claim for any right protected under the law. This includes rights under environmental law, consumer protection law, securities and exchange law, competition law as well as labour law. The amendment defines a ‘class’ to include one or more persons having similar characteristics to each other as against the defendant, including employees of a particular employer, where each member of the class possesses the same rights in relation to the same facts. A person may fall within a class even if that person suffers a different kind of damage to another member of the class.
Actions for employers
In the context of labour law disputes, Thailand already is an employee friendly jurisdiction and the amendment will likely be received well by labour unions and employee groups. Employers should be cautious as the new amendment takes effect. To reduce the risk of a class action being brought by aggrieved employees, employers should ensure that their labour law practices and procedures comply with the minimum Thai statutory requirements.