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DH wrongly accused of theft gets police help to claim $20k from employer

10 December 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Constantino says she called the police after her employers
told her to sign a termination notice admitting theft

A Filipina helper who was fired by her employers on Dec 7 and refused any payment because she allegedly stole a watch and an iPad, called the police for help. After five hours of heated argument with her employer in front of the police, Mylene Constantino, 40, managed to clear her name and walked away with more than $20,000 in settlement.

Constantino said the police helped in preventing her employers from insisting she signed a termination notice that accused her of stealing. The notice would have also meant she would not get any money from the couple for whom she had worked for more than five years.

Despite her victory, Constantino took a blow when a would-be employer who signed her up Sunday, Dec 6, backed out after hearing of her dispute with the couple.

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Now she is back to looking for a new employer while planning to write to the Immigration Department to explain what had happened, and neutralize whatever adverse statement her former boss might make about why their contract was terminated.

Before the conflict began, Constantino said there was no problem in her relationship with the employers, who hired her in 2015 for her first job in Hong Kong.

The helper, a separated wife with two daughters aged 14 and 12, said she served her employers loyally for five years and nine months.

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They used to live in Taiwai, but on Nov 20, the couple told her they were moving to a new place in Taipo to be near their child’s school.

On Nov 26, the family moved to Alva Hotel in Shek Mun, Shatin, leaving the helper in the old flat to pack their belongings in boxes. They said they would ship these to Britain.

It was then that the employers reportedly told Constantino that they would relocate to the United Kingdom on Jan 13, and would release her three days earlier. They allegedly told her to start looking for a new employer.

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On the evening of Dec 3, after Constantino had joined the family at the hotel, her male employer reportedly asked her if she had seen his Apple watch. She answered no. He didn’t ask her about the watch again after that.

On Monday morning, the couple asked her about their missing iPad, then allegedly accused her of taking it because they claimed to have found the Apple watch in her luggage.

The couple reportedly said they were firing her on the spot but wouldn’t pay her anything because of the missing iPad. They also reportedly asked her to sign a statement admitting that she had taken the watch and the iPad.

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Angered by the accusation, Constantino told her employers, “If you have any proof that you found the watch in my luggage, show me. My conscience is clear, I didn’t steal anything. If you have any proof, call the police because if you don’t, I’ll call them myself.”

She then proceeded to dial 999. Before the police arrived, the couple allegedly tore up the statement they were forcing her to sign, then tried to prevent her from talking to the officers.

Constantino said she didn’t let them to stop her.  “I told the police I wanted them to get my side,” she said.

The alleged encounter with the employers happened in Alva Hotel in Shatin

The officers searched her belongings but found nothing, so they talked to the employers.

The couple said they wouldn’t let the helper go unless she signed a termination notice. But Constantino could not be cowed, as she felt that would be tantamount to admitting the alleged theft.

She in turn told the police she wouldn’t leave until the employers paid her a month’s wages in lieu of notice for firing her on the spot. She also claimed long service pay, plane ticket and food and travel allowance.

“The situation in the hotel room was so heated up with my employers shouting at me, so the officers asked me to take my belongings and stay outside the door,” the helper said.

After hours had passed, the officers reportedly told the employers to pay the helper’s rightful claim to end the row because, if they didn’t, she would just file a labour case against them.

Constantino said that prompted the employers to pay up. As a last attempt to get back at her, the couple booked her a flight home on Dec 9 at 2:30am, but the Filipina simply skipped going to the airport.

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