Employer to pursue labour counterclaim vs. FDW acquitted of theft

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The Labour Tribunal in Yau Ma Tei

A high-profile employer who falsely accused her former Filipina domestic worker of theft said on Monday she will push through with her counterclaim against her helper before the Labour Tribunal.

Chua Eh-fong told Tribunal Presiding Officer W. U. Pun that she was willing to settle arrears of wages and the food and travel allowance of the claimant, Liverty Narcelles. Chua earlier accused Narcelles of stealing a HK$100,000 ring, but she was acquitted of the charge in late January due to lack of evidence.

After the verdict, Narcelles filed a HK$6,000 labour claim to include payment in lieu of notice, an air ticket, wage arrears, and allowances. But Chua on Monday said she had already purchased a ticket for Narcelles, and the helper was not able to use it.

Both the employer and the worker were not able to reach an agreement on the wages in lieu of notice, because they had different accounts on who terminated the contract.

Chua insisted that she gave Narcelles a month’s notice but the domestic worker requested that she leave immediately, thus she sought pay in lieu of notice.

But Narcelles disagreed, saying Chua asked her to pack her personal effects on Sept. 8 so she could leave the next day.

Pun then told both parties to consider a settlement instead of a trial, but both the employer and the worker did not settle.

The tribunal officer also pointed out that Narcelles would not be able to use the ticket Chua purchased since the helper was facing theft charges.

The employer then agreed to buy another ticket, but Narcelles said she would prefer to get cash as she is unsure when she could return to the Philippines.

Chua insisted on giving her a ticket, saying the Immigration Department told her she has the option to purchase the ticket or give the airfare in cash. But the presiding officer said the tribunal could only issue orders for compensation in monetary terms.

Pun adjourned the case until Dec. 1.