A Domestic Worker Was Fired Because She Was Diagnosed With Stage 3 Cancer
A Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong was fired by her employer after she was diagnosed with Stage 3 cervical cancer
Less than a month after her diagnosis, Baby Jane Allas received a termination letter that stated, "Reason for termination (if any): Diagnosed with cervical cancer."
"Given your medical conditions, I am no longer able to continue your employment effective from 19 February 2019. Wish you good health," it read, according to Coconuts Hong Kong.
"I felt so upset. My main concern was, how am I going to get medical care and the medication I need?" she told South China Morning Post.
Without employment, Allas lost access to free healthcare and is required to leave Hong Kong.
With an advanced cancer diagnosis, she is not legally allowed to accept a new employment contract.
When she refused to sign her employer's release letter, they allegedly confiscated her contract, medical receipts, and hospital referral letter.
Without the hospital referral letter, the 38-year-old had to wait a week before being able to get a necessary MRI to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Allas lodged a complaint with the Labour Department for being unlawfully fired while on paid sick leave, having her food rationed to slices of bread, being made to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, and not being given days off
In response, her employer told South China Morning Post that the domestic worker was not fired while on sick leave as the termination took effect the day after her leave period ended.
According to Jessica Cutrera Papadopoulos, Allas' sister's employer, "She did not wish to pursue claims against her employer – she simply wanted to continue her hard work and finish her contract in Hong Kong so that she had a chance of moving to a new employer [who] would treat her better."
"We have explored options for care back in the Philippines, but given the advanced stage of her cancer, a few weeks or months delay to be admitted in a government hospital isn't an option," she added.
Papadopoulos explained that even if the visa extension Allas applied for is granted, it will not allow her to access health care paid for by the government.
Papadopoulos, who is now caring for Allas, has created a GoGetFunding page for the domestic worker
The page aims to raise HKD650,000 (RM337,642.43) to fund the 38-year-old's treatment and support her children in the Philippines.
"Her employer was also delinquent in paying her wages, so she has no money at all and is relying on us for support for her and her five children at home," she added.
At the time of writing, HKD255,269 (RM132,599.45) has been raised.
An update on the page stated that an initial quote for the full cost of her treatment was over HKD1 million (RM519,449.89).