Dealing with abuse in the workplace

By Aileen_PYP on 28th Jul 2020


My employer’s mother is abusive towards me. She shouts, throws things and often says demeaning things to me. What should I do? – Nelia R., Shek Kip Mei 


Hi Nelia,


Firstly I'm very sorry to hear about the challenges you've been facing, and let's be clear from the outset:


Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated.


Part of our work here as domestic workers is to help take care of our employers and their family. There should always be a relationship built on trust and respect for one another, and from what you have written to me, it seems like your employer’s mother does not respect your status in their home. Sometimes frustrations can flare up, especially with the language barrier, but it should not be a basis for abuse, ever.


If you feel comfortable to do so, my advice is talk to your employer, the one who signed your contract. Open up a conversation about mutual respect; explain how being shouted at or having things thrown at you is not making your job of taking care of their family easy for you. Explain to them that being verbally abused is affecting your well-being and your job performance. Hopefully, with this open and honest communication, they can help you explain your feeling towards their mother, and in turn make her realise your importance as valued member of the household.


If you don't feel comfortable talking to your employer directly, there are services that can assist such as HELPMission for Migrant Workers and the Assistance To Nationals (ATN) department of the Philippine Consulate General here in HK. Please check out our Help & Support page for more information about different NGOs and government departments.


If the abuse continues, you should break contract and look for a new employer. And if there is any more physical abuse, you can report that to the police, because that is against the law and your employer may be liable for any psychological or emotional trauma this abuse may have caused you.


Thank you so much and hope everything turns out well.


- Aileen