Maid says boss sacked her over pregnancy, seeks HK$500,000

09 September 2016
The Indonesian maid filed a case of sexual discrimination against her former employer for allegedly forcing her to resign after learning of her pregnancy. The Indonesian maid filed a case of sexual discrimination against her former employer for allegedly forcing her to resign after learning of her pregnancy. Photo: HKEJ

An Indonesian domestic helper is demanding HK$500,000 in compensation for moral damages and income loss from her former employer, who allegedly forced her to resign after she informed her that she was pregnant last year.

The maid has filed a case of sexual discrimination against her ex-employer surnamed Lai at a district court, Headline Daily reports.

Lai employed the helper between Jan. 25, 2010 and June 13, 2015 to work at a unit at Charming Garden in Mong Kok for HK$4,010 a month, according to a writ sent to the court.

On March 12 last year, the helper learned that she was pregnant for 16 weeks and informed Lai about her condition, showing her a medical certificate.

Lai allegedly told the maid to resign immediately, but she refused to do so, saying would only quit after the baby was born. She said she could still work for Lai during her pregnancy.

In May last year, Lai allegedly told the maid that another helper had been hired, but still she refused to sign a letter terminating her employment contract. According to the maid, Lai repeatedly told her there would be much trouble if she refused to cooperate.

She later informed the helper that her agent had already submitted the termination letter to the Immigration Department and ordered the helper to sign the resignation letter that said she quit for personal reasons, the maid said.

Lai allegedly reminded the helper not to disclose her pregnancy in the resignation letter. Lai was also said to have told the helper that if she wanted to keep the job she had to promise to work for her for the next 10 years until her daughter turned 15.

When the helper said she could not agree to such a condition, Lai allegedly told her that she would not allow the helper to bring her baby home and asked her to live with her boyfriend instead. With the maid standing her ground, Lai allegedly tried another approach, crying and begging her to leave.

The helper agreed to sign the resignation letter if Lai would give her a long service payment of around HK$14,000, but Lai refused to pay. The helper finally left on June 13, 2015, saying she was moving out under stress and anxiety.

In her petition, she said her employment was unreasonably terminated and she is therefore asking for a compensation of over HK$30,000 for loss of income plus medical expenses for prenatal check-ups and delivery amounting to about HK$44,000 as she was out of a contract when her baby was born on Aug. 26 last year.

The helper also asked for maternity leave and long service payments totaling HK$32,000, plus a compensation of HK$150,000 for unreasonable termination of employment and HK$300,000 for causing her to suffer depression.

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