Tue. May 21st, 2019
Baby Jane Allas at a hospital in Hong Kong

OFW Fired Over Cancer Awarded Damages by HK Court

Do you remember Baby Jane Allas? For those who don’t know or recall we featured a story, a month ago, about Baby Jane Allas, a Filipina domestic helper who was terminated by her employer after being diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer despite a valid sick leave status.

But on Monday, she was awarded damages by a local court in Hong Kong. Allas and her employer reached an agreement, awarding the OFW a total of HKD30,000 ($3,800) at Hong Kong labor tribunal as payment for medical fees, sickness allowances and back wages in lieu of notice.

Baby Jane’s sad health condition

In January 2019, Allas heard the shocking news about her worsening health condition and was sacked by her employer a month later, citing her recent diagnosis as the primary reason for termination. She reportedly refused to sign the release papers, but her former employer allegedly confiscated her working contract, referral letters from Tuen Mun Hospital and medical receipts, causing the delay of her MRI required before she could proceed to chemotherapy and radiation procedures. This confiscation further made her hospital treatments even more expensive and emotionally draining for Allas.

What Allas did to assert her rights

The cancer-stricken domestic helper, who’s a single mother of five children, has filed legal action against her employer at the Labor Department, citing that she was unlawfully fired while still on official sick leave. Allas also reported that her employer violated some conditions in the working contract, including a weekly one-day off provision and failure to provide her basic necessities. She also filed a formal complaint at the Equal Opportunities Commission, citing that it is unlawful to discriminate any person with a disability under Disability Discrimination Ordinance. Furthermore, she added to the complaint that her employer forced her to sleep under the stairs and would starve her at times.

Since she is no longer employed, Allas has lost her access to free healthcare services, which are provided to all Hong Kong residents across the country. Worse, she would not be allowed to sign any working contract due to her recent illness.

Allas expressed that she hoped her latest triumph would give light to all migrant workers who may have been experiencing similar cases of exploitations from their employers. “I am standing here right now to encourage more workers to come out if they have these kinds of cases,” she said.

The 38-year-old single mother is required to get a visa extension regularly while battling cancer and looking for potential income sources. To date, she has been attending radiation therapy at least five times a week and chemotherapy sessions at least once a week.

Baby Jane is now under the care of Jessica Cutrera Papadopoulos, a long-time HK resident who is also Allas’ employer. She initiated a fund-raising drive which already collected nearly HKD900,000 worth of donations, intended to be used for her cancer treatments.

Source: Rappler

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