Justice is borderless! High court gives green light to foreign domestic workers rights to testify with video calls.
High court ruled that even if foreign domestic workers have left Hong Kong, under certain conditions, they should be allowed to testify at Labour Tribunal hearings with Technology Court facilities, and be represented by unions.
In the past, it would cost too much for a foreign domestic worker to stay in Hong Kong without any income even if they were facing injustice and exploitation, resulting many staying silent and going home, and finally giving up their right to recover their unpaid wages. This important court decision is announcing: workers sent home doesn’t mean they give up recovery of wages.
Domingo, domestic worker from the Philippines, filed a case to the Labour Tribunal to sue her employer in 2016 and to recover her wage of HKD 12,000 – 15,000. But since her mother at home urgently needed her care, and her husband needed to work her to make a living for she has no wages, and had no time to take care of her family, she chose to go home.
Therefore, she applied, with the assistance of her company, to use Techonoly Court facilities, but was rejected by the Labour Tribunal. The judge even rejected her right to be represented by a union. Domingo then filed this case to High Court, which ruled the decision by the Labour Tribunal groundless and mistakable.
High Court ruled the case should return to the Labour Tribunal under another judge. Now the case is being processed, and union was allowed to represent Domingo in the hearing.
Through cooperation, organisations like FADWU, HELP and JWB made it possible for foreign domestic workers seek justice through legal system. Domingo sought help at HELP and was introduced a pro-bono laywer through JWB, and finally won the case with the representation by FADWU at the Labour Tribunal. Union will continue to strive for the rights for workers who have return home. Now, if workers were underpaid by agents, it is possible to prosecute these illegal agents and get their compensation overseas.