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Pinay DH settles long service claim for $20k after being told she could lose case

04 September 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao
The Filipina claimant was told by the tribunal officer she could lose her case
A Filipina helper who was warned by a Labour Tribunal officer that she had little chance of winning a claim for long service and one month’s salary in lieu of notice against her former employer nevertheless managed to walk off with $20,000 in settlement.

Lorena B. Cinco and her employer for seven years, Peter Michael D’Almada Remedios, agreed to settle the case during a hearing before Presiding Officer Timon Shum today, Sept 4.

The Filipina had claimed that she was fired after D’Almada Remedios told her she could leave his house the day after she gave him a termination letter in March.

The employer had already paid her other amounts such as arrears in wages, air ticket, travel and food allowance.

Cinco was insisting she was fired because the employer did not allow her to continue working for another month during the notice period.

But D’Almada Remedios denied the claim, saying they had both signed a written agreement stating she was resigning and would be released on the same day.

Cinco said she signed the document only because she was made to believe that the employer would pay her the money she was claiming.

But Shum said that since the helper had already given a notice of termination, the employer had every right to let her go on the spot without paying her a month’s salary in lieu of notice.

Neither could she claim long service pay because she was the one who terminated her employment contract.

With her stated salary of $8,000 a month, Cinco would have been entitled to more than $45,000 in long service pay and salary in lieu if she was indeed terminated.

But when Shum asked her for a document to prove that she was terminated, Cinco could only produce a text message which read “we talk this over before you leave tomorrow.”

Shum asked for the employer’s message preceding that note, but after reading it, he told the maid there was nothing in it that showed that she was being terminated.

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The presiding officer said if the case went to trial, Cinco was likely to lose. He asked her how much her bottom line was and she said $30,000.

But D’Almada Remedios said he would not go beyond $20,000.

The presiding officer told Cinco the amount was also “generous” and said that if she didn’t accept it and insisted on a trial, she could lose and end up paying court cost.

After a brief break to allow the parties to work on a settlement, Cinco told the court she was accepting the $20,000 offer.

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