Canada: B.C. Human Rights Tribunal says ex-domestic worker is "virtual slave"
METRO VANCOUVER — The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the former employers of a live-in caregiver to pay almost $56,000 as compensation for physical and sexual abuse, and enduring working conditions that amounted to “virtual slavery.”
The caregiver, referred to only as PN in the decision, has two children in the Philippines and was 28 at the time the events occurred, in 2013.
She was hired by a Hong Kong couple — referred to in the decision as FR and MR — as a housekeeper and caregiver for their children through an employment agency in the Philippines. She lived with the couple in Hong Kong for about a year before coming with the family to Richmond in July 2013.
During her time with the family, PN said she had to work from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. without a break. If her employers caught her sitting down, her wages would be docked. She claimed she was only allowed to eat after she fed the couple’s daughter and that her own food was apportioned to her by her female employer, MR. She was not allowed to eat food in the fridge without permission and MR threatened to report her to the employment agency if she ate too much. As a result, PN said she was often hungry.
PN said her female employer used to yell at her frequently, make fun of her appearance, and call her “evil.” On one occasion, in Richmond, she said MR grabbed her arm hard enough to leave bruises.
Her male employer would put lotion on her hand and make her stroke his penis two to three times a week and told her not to mention this to MR or other workers employed by the family. PN said he reminded her she needed to keep the job so she could support her own children in the Philippines and that she had debts to repay.
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Story Type: Update