Absent domestic worker rebuked by judge in labor case
The presiding officer said she had wasted everyone’s time and the resources of the court by not showing up at hearings
A Filipina domestic worker who had filed an unpaid wages claim against her former employer has been chided by the Labour Tribunal officer for being absent from the hearing and not making contact for nine months.
Phebe Hibulan filed a case against former employer Daisy Suen for HK$2,745.85 (US$351) in unpaid wages, a return air ticket and HK$1,360 in damages, sunwebhk.com reported.
The Labour Department had scheduled meetings for her and the employer in March and April, but Hibulan did not show up. She sent a representative to collect a partial settlement of her claim.
According to Labour Tribunal Presiding Officer Isabella Chu, Suen had issued a check to Hipulan, but it was returned to the Labour Department as the domestic worker could not be contacted and had no bank account.
Hipulan then filed a case at the Labour Tribunal against Suen. But after interviews with the tribunal officer, she did not appear at hearings in May, June and August.
The worker revived her case on November and appeared in the tribunal on December 5. Chu questioned Hipulan about her absence from the hearings and she said she kept returning to the Labour Department for her plane ticket.
However, Chu refuted her explanation, saying that after checking with the Labour Department, it was found she had not gone there. However, she kept extending her visa, citing her pending claim.
The presiding officer said the worker had wasted everyone’s time and the resources of the court and set back the appointments of three claimants who were next in line.
Chu added that she would report the matter to the Immigration Department to investigate what the worker had been doing in Hong Kong over the past nine and a half months.
Meanwhile, Chu only accepted the claim for the air ticket which cost HK$1,350, as her former employer had already settled the rest by check, which could not be delivered and was kept by the Labour Department.