Abused Filipina caregiver in Montreal owed thousands in compensation damages

by Krystle Alarcon, ABS-CBN News

MONTREAL — A nanny in Montreal is owed more than $40,000 in compensation.

She won her human rights case last year, but has yet to see a penny.

Gelyn Dasoc-Hilot arrived in Montreal in July 2012 to work as a nanny to four children.

After just three months, she quit.

She said her employer refused to pay her for her first two weeks of work and consistently intimidated her.

“Sabi nya sa akin, saka na kita babayaran in 1 year. And then sabi ko, di naman pwede, kasi nga, nagtatrabaho ka na. Nandun ako sa baba, umiyak ako doon. Bakit ganito sya? Ganito, ganyan. Sabi ko, kalbaryo na nga buhay ko sa pinas, pagdating ko dito, ganun din.”

Dasoc-Hilot turned to Pinay, a group for live-in caregivers, for help.

With the Center for Research Action for Race Relations or CRARR, they filed a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission in 2013.

Last year, the commission found that her former employer, Nathalie Zzoulay, violated Dasoc-Hilot’s contract, did not pay her overtime, and repeatedly threatened her.

They recommended Azoulay to pay her a total of $41,600 for lost wages and airfare, including $30,000 in moral and punitive damages.

Azoulay refused the recommendation, offering a settlement of $2,000.

Despite the ruling in her favor, Dasoc-Hilot hasn’t seen a penny.

Pinay and CRARR are calling on the commission to refer her case to the Human Rights Tribunal, which can enforce the decision — and penalty fines on Azoulay.

Still, the decision was precedent-setting for live-in caregivers.

“They are women, they are new immigrants, they are very socially vulnerable and they are also very economically vulnerable. So all these factors, the commission has had a lot of problems understanding how these women live. But this time, we had to really push to get the commission to get it right, to do the right thing,” says executive director Fo Niemi.

Niemi said that Dasoc-Hilot’s case will be filed with the human rights tribunal within two weeks.

A decision is usually rendered within six to nine months.

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