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Filipina drops claim for ‘work injury’ against her employer

24 January 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

A Filipina domestic worker withdrew a claim for compensation against her employer for a supposed work-related injury after being told by the presiding officer at the Labour Tribunal on Jan. 4 that she had little chance of success.

Rosalina Andres, who appeared in court on crutches, had sought to claim that her hospitalization from August to September last year was the result of injuries she suffered nine months earlier, when she slipped on a walkway in Wanchai after picking up her wards from school.

Her employer, So Chi-yan, who terminated Andres’ employment on Sept. 12, 2017, rejected the claim. Andres had worked for her since July 20, 2016.

In court, deputy presiding officer Mary Wu said there appeared to be no evidence linking Andres’ hospitalization to the fall in November 2016, for which the helper did not even seek medical consultation.

Wu read a report showing that Andres was admitted to Tang Shiu Kin hospital in Wanchai on Aug. 14, 2017 because she had difficulty breathing. She was discharged on Sept. 6, and was granted sick leave.

“During such leave, your employer sent you to some sort of a nursing home, is that right?,” Wu asked the Andres.

The tribunal officer also pointed out that during the nine months that elapsed since Andres slipped and when she was admitted to hospital, the helper did not go for any medical check-up or treatment.

However, upon admission to hospital on Aug. 14 she filed a complaint with the Labour Department, saying that her ailment was due to a work-related injury.

The Employees Compensation Board duly investigated Andres’ complaint, but a check with Tang Shiu Kin Hospital reportedly revealed that what she had were “sebaceous cysts”, which are not life threatening.

On Nov. 1, 2017 the ECB issued a document stating the hospital’s advice that “the medical condition (of Andres) was not unlikely to be related to the accident”, and that “it may just be due to her personal condition.”

Wu said that the Tribunal was not in a position to rule on Andres’ claim based on the medical report, and that if she wanted to persist in asking for compensation, she would have to do it in the District Court.

However, elevating her case there could mean either party being allowed to be represented by counsel, and the losing party being ordered to pay costs.

After a break called by Wu, Andres, with help from Danny Baldon of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, informed the Tribunal that she had decided to withdraw her claim.

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