Project manager sues ex-employer after being fired for Covid infection

A project manager has filed a complaint against his ex-employer, a charitable foundation, via the Equal Opportunities Commission after he was fired for being infected with Covid-19.

The 49-year-old project manager, Tario M, was employed by a charitable foundation in 2020 but confirmed with Covid-19 a month later. The foundation then terminated its contract.

The director filed a lawsuit in the district court on Monday through the EOC, alleging the foundation violated the Disability Discrimination Ordinance.

He demanded a written apology from the foundation, as well as salaries of HK$44,000 and HK$60,000 in compensation for emotional damage.

It was the second EOC case in Hong Kong involving disability-based discrimination against patients infected with Covid-19.

The statement stated that the Claimant was employed as a Project Manager on December 20, 2020 by the Respondent, The Gurkhas Group (G3S) Charity Foundation Limited, and that his first day of employment was January 11, 2021.

The claimant developed a cold on January 13 and took three days of sick leave. He then accompanied his wife for a prenatal checkup on January 16, so he took another day off without pay.

On the same day, he learned that his sister-in-law had tested positive and he was also informed by the Ministry of Health of her positive result the following day. The claimant then reported the situation and remained in the hospital until January 28.

While in hospital, the plaintiff was informed by the foundation that, due to his medical condition, the management team and other employees considered it risky to work with him.

Therefore, the foundation terminated his employment contract as of his last day of work and transferred his salary to his bank account. They later explained that it was because he had been absent after working for two days.

The provider said he felt humiliated and that the fact that his wife was pregnant and they already had a one-year-old daughter made him more stressed and anxious. In this regard, the plaintiff sought compensation for salary and emotional distress.