Domestic worker sues employers, claims she was forced to take pregnancy test

Photo illustration.

A domestic helper is suing her former employers after they allegedly forced her to take a pregnancy test and prematurely cast her out of their home when she was seven months pregnant, the District Court heard yesterday.

SCMP reports that Indonesian domestic worker Waliyah is suing her former employer, surnamed Yip, for sex discrimination — in an apparently unprecedented case, according to Waliyah’s lawyers at Vidler and Company.

The 30-year-old domestic helper claims Yip’s then-wife, surnamed Chan, asked her to use a child’s potty, from which she collected urine for a pregnancy test in October 2013.

When asked why Chan asked her to take the test, Waliyah said, “Because my tummy was growing.”

The helper then alleged that her employment was terminated a few days after the involuntary pregnancy test. Termination of a contract ordinarily affords domestic workers one month’s notice, but Yip and Chan allegedly forced Waliyah out of their home within three weeks.

By expelling her from their residence early for apparently falling pregnant, Waliyah claims that her ex-employers violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Employment Ordinance, and her employment contract.

In court, Chan countered that Waliyah had been willing to leave prematurely. Thoughout the proceedings, Chan had been retching intermittently and asked that the hearing be halted due to her fatigue caused by “medicine to calm her emotions”.

Yip, who could not be located, was not present at the hearing.

The case had reportedly been adjourned once previously, as Chan said she felt poorly.

Chan was asked by Judge Alex Lee to consult a doctor and provide proof that she was not well enough to attend the hearing.

Waliyah’s barrister suggested that, should the helper — who is suing Yip and Chan for compensation — win her civil case, the former couple could be prosecuted for possible criminal charges. 

However, Lee said criminal prosecution may be too late, as the allegations date back to over two years ago.
 


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