Singapore is probing Exxon's labor practices after the oil giant used employee reviews to cut staff
- Singapore's labor division, the Ministry of Manpower, is reviewing Exxon's labor practices after the oil giant used its performance review process to cut staff.
- "MOM is following up with Exxon Singapore to assess if they have implemented their performance management in a fair and reasonable manner,” the agency told Business Insider.
- The company changed its review process in April, following the crash in oil prices, putting a large number of employees at risk of being cut.
- Exxon is among the largest foreign investors in Singapore and it has about 4,500 workers in the country.
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Exxon Mobil is facing questions from the government of Singapore following complaints by employees that the company is misusing its performance review process to cut workers, months after the price of oil crashed.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower, which oversees labor practices, confirmed to Business Insider that it's probing the company to "assess if they have implemented their performance management in a fair and reasonable manner." The probe was prompted by worker complaints, a spokesperson said.
Singapore is a hub for Exxon's downstream business and home to its largest refinery. The oil giant, headquartered in Irving, Texas, has about 4,500 workers in Singapore, according to the company.
Business Insider previously reported that leaked documents show that Exxon adjusted its performance review process in April, forcing managers to dub as many as 10% of salaried workers poor performers, putting them at risk of getting cut. HR officials knew that not all workers in that category were, in fact, poor performers, audio from an internal meeting reveals.
Many of the world's top oil companies have cut staff in the months since the pandemic sapped fuel demand, driving the price of oil into the ground. While oil markets have recovered some ground since April, the price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down about 40% on Wednesday, relative to the start of the year.
Casey Norton, an Exxon spokesperson, said the company is following "all applicable laws and regulations."
"The performance review process provides a fair and consistent approach to managing employees with lower relative or lower absolute performance," Norton said. "This is an annual process which has been in place for many years."
Norton said the percentage of employees placed in the bottom performance category has been as high as 10% in previous years.
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