Hong Kong employer sued for $74,000 over mistreatment of late Filipino helper

By Minh Hieu   February 23, 2024 | 08:45 pm PT
Hong Kong employer sued for $74,000 over mistreatment of late Filipino helper
A domestic helper. Illustration photo by Freepik
Rita Choy Chiu-yee, a Hong Kong employer, faces a lawsuit demanding HK$580,000 (US$74,155) in damages for starving and then dismissing her Filipino domestic helper following the helper's cancer diagnosis.

Choy was unlawfully discriminating against her domestic helper, Joan Sarmiento Guting, when the latter was on sick leave at her home in 2017, the South China Morning Post reported.

Upon Guting's diagnosis with cervical cancer, oedema, and acute kidney failure, the employer allegedly neglected Guting's needs, denied her access to the kitchen, and failed to provide her with sufficient food, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Guting’s friend, Carla Arangote Temporosa.

Additionally, Choy purportedly installed a security camera and discarded utensils that Guting used.

Choy terminated Guting's employment two months later. Guting had worked for Choy for two years and three months prior to the cancer diagnosis. She tragically passed away the following year at the age of 41 after she returned to the Philippines.

During court proceedings on Wednesday, Temporosa testified that Guting mentioned the employer had prevented her from using the kitchen, leaving her with no alternative but to cook in her bedroom using a rice cooker borrowed from a friend, according to BNN Breaking.

Choy refuted the allegations of restricting Guting from the kitchen and asserted that the termination was due to the helper’s purported poor performance, which had dissatisfied her months prior to the diagnosis.

Mistreatment of domestic helpers has been an ongoing issue in Hong Kong.

The outcome of Guting’s case could become a precedent that provides better legal protection for the city’s over 370,000 foreign domestic workers.

go to top