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Pinay forced to sleep in toilet seeks $22k compensation from employer

07 November 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Grace's mattress on the floor is squeezed between the toilet bowl and a wall

A Filipina domestic worker who sought help after being told to sleep in a toilet, has left her employers’ home in Happy Valley, and is now pursuing a claim for more than $22,000 from them.

Grace, 32, told The SUN she was forced to call the police on Oct 15, after being told by her employers that she would be put on a flight back to the Philippines early the next day when she refused to withdraw the one-month notice she gave them five days earlier.

By then, the Hong Kong newbie who left behind a husband and two teenage sons in La Pinas City, had been with her employers for just over a month.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Natakot ako kasi baka ano ang mangyari sa akin kapag sumama ako sa airport. Kung ano-ano ang pumasok sa isip ko kasi ang amo kong lalaki lang daw ang maghahatid sa akin” Grace said.

(I got scared thinking of what might happen to me if I agreed to go to the airport. A lot of things went through my mind after I was told that only my male employer would take me there).

On the pretext that she was packing her things, Grace said she secretly hid her telephone in a drawer and called 999 from there.

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Five police officers responded to her call, and two checked out the toilet where Grace was made to sleep in.

Pumunta sila sa CR (comfort room), tapos yung isa ang sabi, ‘You eat here?’ ‘You sleep here?’,” said Grace.

When she replied in the affirmative, the officer reportedly could not help but respond with a shocked “Huh?”.

Pindutin para sa detalye

At first, her employers were reportedly hesitant to allow the police to come into their house. But left with no choice but to comply, the couple lay all of the helper’s things on their dining table, including her underwear, as they inspected each item.

In an apparent attempt to further shame her, Grace said she was thoroughly frisked before she was finally allowed to leave, which took all of one hour.

After being escorted out by the police, Grace was picked up by volunteers from the Mission for Migrant Workers, which has given her shelter and is now helping her with her labor case. 

During the day, a stool was turned into a table where Grace ate her meals

The Mission and an online group, Domestic Workers’ Corner, were the first to be told of Grace’s plight. Her husband reportedly got in touch directly with the Mission, while a friend linked her up with DWC, and subsequently, The SUN.

Hearing her story, all the support groups advised Grace that she could leave her employment on the spot without having to worry about paying anything, as her employer was the one who violated their contract by making her sleep and eat in the toilet.

But as that would have entailed calling the police which she dreaded, Grace chose to just serve a month’s notice on Oct 10.


Grace, who started working with her employer’s family on Sept. 4, said she immediately protested when she saw the tiny room where she was supposed to sleep, rest, do the laundry, iron clothes – and eat and defecate.

The room was so tiny and narrow that when she lay down her mattress at night, Grace ended up sleeping with her legs folded, and her face right smack beside the toilet bowl.

She was also forced to eat inside the toilet, saying her employers stared at her the first time they gave her food, until she was forced to retire there.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

What made her feel worse was that there was a third room in the flat which the family used as a study room and was unoccupied at night. Grace said she would have been more than glad to sleep in that spare room, even if only on the floor, for a few hours each night.

When she complained to her agency representative called William, she was told to be patient and not demand too much because she was just new in the job. The agent also advised her to stay put for at least six months, warning her that she would have difficulty finding another employer otherwise.


Conflicted, Grace followed the advice of a friend and told her employers about her concern, but they reportedly told her they couldn’t give her more than what she already had.

The couple even told her that she should be grateful because other helpers were made to sleep in worse places like kitchen floors and cabinets.

Left with no choice, Grace decided to terminate her contract.

Suddenly, she said her employers became very good to her, giving her more nutritious food, gifting her with a hair dryer, and even offering to let her sleep in their prized study room.

Her female employer also became lavish with her praises, reportedly telling Grace such things as, “I like your work, I like the way you clean our house.”

Parang biglang bumaliktad ang sitwasyon,” said Grace.  (They became the exact opposite of what they used to be)

Her employers told Grace she should be thankful she was given her own room

But Grace couldn’t be moved.

Kasi mahirap na silang pagtiwalaan. Kung hindi pa ako nagbigay ng notice, hindi sila magbabait,” she said. (I couldn’t trust them anymore. They became good to me only after I served my one month’s notice).

Now, all she wants is to move on, and maybe ask the Philippine Consulate to ban her employers from hiring another Filipina so nobody would suffer the same sorry fate that she had.

That wish may soon be realized, as Consul General Raly Tejada has expressed an interest in seeing her after learning about her case. 

Hong Kong legislator Fernando Cheung is taking the step further, saying he wants to help Grace pursue a labor case against her employer.

What she learned from her experience, says Grace, is that one shouldn't be afraid of reaching out for help, and to stand up for your rights when the situation calls for it.

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