'I am sorry for my negligence': Jaime Teo on underpaying Twelve Cupcakes foreign employees

She was fined S$65,000 on Tuesday (Mar. 8).

Jane Zhang | March 09, 2021, 07:00 PM

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Actress and former Miss Universe Singapore Jaime Teo has publicly addressed her involvement in underpaying seven foreign employees of Twelve Cupcakes, a local bakery chain that she had founded in 2011 with her then-husband Daniel Ong.

In an Instagram post on Tuesday (Mar. 9), Teo said that she had not been aware that the employees were being underpaid, and apologised for her negligence.

Fined S$65,000 for underpaying employees

On Tuesday, Teo was fined S$65,000 for underpaying the employees by almost S$100,000 over the course of those three years, during the time she was the company's director, according to CNA.

The court heard that Teo was one of the main decision-makers in the company, as she controlled the company's expenses and was in charge of the employees' salaries.

In 2012, Teo and Ong decided together to hire foreign employees to expand their business, hiring foreigners for the position of a pastry chef, sales executives, and customer service executives.

They were meant to pay the workers between S$2,000 and S$2,600, but instead, paid the workers between S$350 and S$1,400 less between September 2013 and November 2016.

In court in February 2021, Teo pleaded guilty to 10 charges of failing to prevent Twelve Cupcakes from underpaying the workers, and admitted that she had been neglectful, wrote The Straits Times.

Until today, the S$98,900 owed to the foreign employees from when Ong and Teo owned Twelve Cupcakes have still not been paid, ST reported.

'I am sorry for my negligence': Teo

In her Instagram post, which was posted after the verdict was announced, Teo said that she had not been aware of what was happening with the employees' salaries until investigations started.

She claimed that she had "unfortunately signed off on many things without a second glance" and left the matters to the external agency which their HR department had engaged.

"As far as I know, we paid all our employees what was agreed with them," she wrote. "Regardless, I am sorry for my negligence."

She added that the "abusive comments" and being misunderstood have been difficult, and thanked the people who have sent her encouraging and supportive messages.

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A post shared by Jaime Teo (@jmeteo)

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Top photos via Jaime Teo's Facebook and Instagram pages.