The High Court on Tuesday ordered the Education Bureau to pay HK$695,000 with interest to a teacher who lost her job offer because of an error in the recruitment procedure.
The court heard that Winnie Tong had received a provisional offer for a native-speaking English (NET) teacher position after applying directly with Fuk Wing Street Government Primary School in 2021.
However, the offer was rescinded after the Education Bureau informed the school that under a government policy, it could only consider applicants passed on from the bureau.
Judge Russell Coleman earlier ruled that the decision not to hire Tong was unlawful and unreasonable.
Tong had asked for a damage payment totalling over HK$16 million – including nearly HK$11 million in loss of future earnings, as well as another HK$3 million in compensation for the emotional stress she had gone through.
But the judge said in his decision that she should only be compensated for the loss of earnings over a two-year contract period, along with a teacher registration fee that she had already paid.
Justice Coleman also noted that Tong had failed to provide medical evidence to prove that the incident had affected her emotional health.
In response, the Education Bureau said it respects the decision of the court, and will consult legal advice before considering if any follow-up action is needed.
The bureau said it has reviewed and improved the mechanism for recruiting NETs, adding it has ensured that all government schools are clear about the arrangement.
Last updated: 2023-01-03 HKT 20:35