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Collection doubtful as DH awarded $9k claim vs. no-show employer

12 January 2019

Rosete's employer was a no-show at the Labour Tribunal

By Vir B. Lumicao

A domestic worker has been awarded her full claim of about $9,000 against her employer, but her chances of collecting the money are in doubt as the employer never appeared in the Labour Tribunal and could not be contacted.

The helper, Vilma V. Rosete, 48, filed her claim against Wong Kwok-chung after she was terminated on Nov 26 by the employer’s wife without giving her one month’s notice and not a cent

Tribunal Presiding Officer Eric Tam awarded to Rosete on Jan 10 one month’s wage of $5,000 in lieu of notice, arrears in wages for one week, payment for two unused days off, and $2,700 for a one-way air ticket back to the Philippines.

Tam, however, excluded a severance pay of $14,274 being claimed by Rosete.

With her award certificate from the Tribunal, Rosete can go to the District Court to ask the court bailiff to enforce the judgment. However, this will involve her paying the bailiff a few thousands of dollars, which she does not have.

In the first hearing on Dec 10, Wong snubbed the court notice sent by the Tribunal to the defendant’s address in Kwai Shing Estate, Tai Wo Hau, Tsuen Wan.

Neither did the employer respond to calls made by Labour Department staff to Wong or his wife to discuss the dispute with them, Rosete said.

Even before the case went to the Tribunal, the employer had refused to pay the helper all the money due her, Rosete said.

The Filipina told the SUN she had put up with the excesses of the employer’s wife, who allegedly assaulted her each time she was drunk during the four years and three months that she served the family.

Rosete said the police is investigating her assault complaint.

The maid was hired locally in August 2014 by Wong, who stated in the employment contract she had to serve the couple and their two children. But Rosete found out Wong had three children at the time. In 2017, the wife gave birth to a fourth child.

Rosete said she had no problem with Wong, who signed her employment contract, but it was his wife who allegedly made her life miserable.

The said the wife, who stayed at home, attacked her each time she was drunk and they had an argument. She would show Wong the bruises on her arms that the assaults left, but the employer could not stop his wife from hurting the maid.

Rosete said she went to see a doctor for medical records of injuries after recent assaults, but the female employer allegedly confiscated the records.

When asked why she did not report to the police, Rosete said she never did so out of pity for the children, who were endeared to her.

On Nov 26, she had another argument with the employer’s wife, who ordered her to leave. She called up IPT, the agency that placed her with the Wongs, and the agent told her to go to his office at 4pm so they could talk.

But the employer’s wife insisted that she pack up and go. Rosete said she left the flat at 1:30pm and was given shelter by the agency. She said the agency owner also reported the assaults to the police and that investigations were under way.


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