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DH taken to work in China loses claim vs employer, ordered to pay costs

15 June 2019

Labour Tribunal

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker has lost her bid to claim compensation of more than $100,000 against her Hong Kong employer who fired her in 2015 for refusing to return to China to work for another.

Rowena Obilas only managed to win $1,500 as fare for a one-way air ticket to Manila, but even this may go to naught because Labour Tribunal’s presiding officer PC Lai ordered her to pay court costs.

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The costs include any expenses or loss of income that the former employer, Wong San-wing, may claim against Obilas.

Lai issued her decision on Jun 11 following a trial in May, during which the helper stubbornly pushed her compensation claim.

Obilas had claimed around $113,000 from Wong as a result of her termination in early October 2015 when she refused to continue working for a certain Madam Hung in Guangzhou, who was either a cousin or sister of the employer.

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Obilas said she was owed this amount due to the long period that she could not work as police investigated a human trafficking case and an Immigration  “conspiracy to defraud” case against Wong, Hung and her employment agent.

The three defendants were eventually convicted in the Immigration case, but the human trafficking investigation did  not prosper.

In her defense, Wong said Obilas had in fact, found a new employer shortly after she was fired, but she was also terminated after a month. The helper again found other employers but was also dismissed, Wong said.



Then she went home and traveled later to the United Arab Emirates before she returned to Hong Kong and filed her claim, Wong said.

In her ruling, Lai said Obilas could not claim compensation on the ground that she could not find an employer after her dismissal. This was shown by the fact that she signed a contract with a new employer during her 14-day stay here after termination.The court costs Obilas needs to pay will have to be determined by the Tribunal.
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