There are laws and regulations to protect workers who become pregnant. Photo: iStock
There are laws and regulations to protect workers who become pregnant. Photo: iStock

A 37-year-old Filipina maid has filed charges against her former employer, who she claims forced her to resign due to pregnancy. Caling Pia Karen Sanchez filed a writ in Hong Kong’s District Court on Friday to demand HK$197,000 (US$25,097) in compensation for injuries to her feelings, loss of income and medical expenses as she said the employer violated the city’s Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Ming Pao Daily reported.

According to the writ, Sanchez was employed by Chan Hing-man in October 2015. Sanchez learned she was pregnant on April 2, 2017, and was sent to hospital one week later with symptoms of a miscarriage.

That was when Chan discovered the pregnancy and allegedly accused Sanchez of a “horrible” conspiracy with her boyfriend to have a baby.

Chan later allegedly told Sanchez and her mother they would need to pay a HK$50,000 hospital fee to have the baby in Hong Kong. Chan also prepared a resignation letter and asked Sanchez to copy and sign it.

Sanchez said she originally planned to finish her employment contract wen it expired in October 2017. However, she said she was under pressure from Chan and her husband and signed the resignation letter and made a video agreeing to go back to the Philippines, under Chan’s instruction, the writ said.

Sanchez resigned in May 2017 and her baby boy was born in September in a local hospital. Sanchez’s lawyer, as well as a legal counsel for the Equal Opportunities Commission, said the employer’s behavior amounted to discrimination over her pregnancy.

The commission said it was the second case involving an employer’s discrimination against an employee’s pregnancy. The first case was in 2013 which an Indonesian domestic worker won and received HK$126,000 for compensation, Apple Daily reported.

According to Hong Kong’s Employment Ordinance in the city, domestic workers are entitled to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave if they have worked for an employer for 40 weeks or more. An employer who fires a domestic worker on account of her becoming pregnant is liable to a fine of HK$100,000.

Read: Indonesian maid was sacked for being pregnant

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