Labour Tribunal ruling to allow video testimonies - RTHK
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Labour Tribunal ruling to allow video testimonies

2019-02-20 HKT 12:30
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  • Many migrant workers are forced to abandon their compensation claims as they can't stay back without a job, say activists. Image: Shutterstock
    Many migrant workers are forced to abandon their compensation claims as they can't stay back without a job, say activists. Image: Shutterstock
Douglas MacLean talks to RTHK's Richard Pyne
The Labour Tribunal will for the first time allow testimony through a video link in a compensation case by a worker who has gone back to her country.

The charity Justice Without Borders said the decision to allow the former domestic worker, Joenalyn Mallorca, to testify from the Philippines is a landmark victory for migrant workers.

Mallorca claims that she was unfairly dismissed by her former employer, and is seeking HK$85,900 in lost earnings.

Douglas MacLean, the charity's executive director, said the tribunal's decision is helpful for workers who have claims but were forced to abandon them as they could not be physically present here to pursue the case.

"It is hard for them find another job. So they have a very difficult choice of remaining without a salary to pursue claims against the bad employer, or going home and giving up their claim. It is a lose-lose situation," MacLean said.

He said in Mallorca's case, she had filed a complaint while she was here and had asked the tribunal to speed up the case. But then she had to go back to care for her ailing family members, he said.

With this ruling, now it has become possible for a union representative to file the claim on behalf of such workers, who can then testify through video link from outside, he said.

MacLean told RTHK's Richard Pyne that this decision may prompt more such claims coming before the tribunal.

But the charity worker pointed that it should not be seen as a jump in such cases, but as a corrective step that enables wronged people to get a chance to get compensation.