An employers group has urged the Hong Kong government to review labor laws on the handling of pregnancy issues after the Equal Opportunities Commission said it would pursue a claim in the district court on behalf of a sacked Filipina domestic worker.

Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association chairman Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee said authorities should consider allowing negotiations between employers and domestic workers, with the worker being given unpaid leave or the two parties agreeing to terminate an employment “under mutual agreement and in a lawful way”.

Menchie Labiste Luang is seeking compensation of HK$90,000 (US$11,481) from Martin Christof Pankau for loss of income and self-esteem after she was laid off in 2017 for becoming pregnant, Oriental Daily reported. The case filed by the Equal Opportunities Commission alleges that the Sex Discrimination Ordinance was breached.

Luang had worked for Pankau for two years before she told him in May 2017 that she expected to give birth in January 2018. She applied for maternity leave but instead was told to sign a contract termination letter on June 7, 2017. When Luang refused, she was informed she had been sacked and was told to leave Hong Kong.

The Filipina filed a complaint with the Labor Department and a claim was settled with the Labor Tribunal in August 2017. Her latest case is scheduled to go to trial in June this year.

Yung said that employers faced a big burden if their worker became pregnant and changes were needed in the law.