An Indonesian domestic helper has won a lawsuit against a divorced couple who forced her to take a pregnancy test and illegally sacked her on the grounds that she was pregnant.
A district court judge ruled on Thursday that Yip Hoi-sun and his ex-wife Chan Man-hong violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, news website hk01.com. Yip also violated the Employment Ordinance.
The couple escaped jail time but were ordered to compensate Waliyah. The amount will be determined by the judge.
The court heard that the couple hired Waliyah in April 2012 to care for their daughter.
On October 1, 2013, Chan forced Waliyah into a pregnancy test because she suspected the latter was pregnant.
Chan later took Waliyah to a doctor who confirmed the pregnancy and considered asking her to get an abortion, according to court documents.
Later that month, Yip demanded Waliyah sign a termination agreement without giving her the required one-month notice.
He then evicted her with HK$5,000 in unpaid wages and no return air fare to Indonesia.
Instead of going home, Waliyah stayed with a volunteer agency and gave birth in December 2013.
The judge said in the ruling that the couple violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance because they had no right to pry into the maid’s pregnancy, Ming Pao Daily reports.
As for the illegal termination of contract, the judge said Chan should not be held responsible since she was willing to keep the maid.
Eni Lestari, a spokesperson for the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body, said the verdict should remind employers to respect their maids’ right to privacy.
She said most maids don’t want to get pregnant during their stay in Hong Kong to avoid being fired.
However, she said some employers are considerate and allow their maid to carry the pregnancy to full term and deliver the baby while keeping them employed.
Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, who chairs the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said an employer is forbidden by law to sack a domestic helper for reasons of pregnancy.
And any premature termination of employment contracts cannot be unilaterally decided and requires mutual consent, she said.
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