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Pregnant Pinay seeks compensation for dismissal

15 November 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

A 44-year-old pregnant Filipina helper and her former employer have failed to settle their dispute in the Labour Tribunal when the latter insisted only on $10,000 as settlement, prompting the officer to set the case down for trial next year.

That means a long wait with an uncertain outcome for the claimant, Alma (not her real name), who is seven months pregnant and due to give birth on Jan 24.

Presiding officer Eric Tam told Alma and her former employer Ng Fong Yu Fanny on Nov 2 to return on Apr 21 next year and argue their cases in another court.

Tam directed them to each present a witness who can support their claim that it was the other party who terminated their work contract.

He gave them until Dec 15 to submit additional statements.

The helper said she would be asking her employment agent to be her witness while the defendant said she would ask her brother to give evidence for her.

The Filipina is claiming a $14,500 compensation including arrears in wages, one month’s wage in lieu of notice, paid maternity leave and the $4,500 security deposit that the court ordered the defendant to put up.

In a counterclaim, the employer is seeking from the maid $9,000 representing one month’s wage in lieu of notice and damages allegedly due to the claimant’s abrupt departure on Aug 30 that left the employer’s ailing elderly father without any caregiver.

The Filipina insisted it was the employer who ordered her out of the house at the height of an argument that night over where the helper’s coming baby would stay.

The defendant denied sending the maid away. She said she was even very happy about her pregnancy.

“You said you were very happy about her pregnancy, but you told her you can’t accept the baby in your house?” the presiding officer blurted.

The employer denied that, but Tam replied, “You sent her a lot of warning letters.”

The defendant told the court she had a video to prove it was the Filipina who insisted to leave while the employer was asking her to stay.

But the maid said that video was just made up by the employer, who allegedly pretended to beg her to stay in front of police officers whom she had called.

At the hearing, Tam called for a break four times in a vain attempt to get the parties to settle. At the third break, he sent them to the tribunal officer to try to work out a deal.

When they returned, the employer agreed to drop her claims against the Filipina and upped her offer to $10,000. But the helper insisted on $10,500 plus the security deposit.

The presiding officer suggested that the employer raise her offer to $12,500 but both sides rejected this, prompting Tam to set the case for trial in April next year.

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