Three things you need when filing a labour case at the labour department

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Support your complaint with facts. “I, [your name, age and nationality]has worked as an English teacher in the said school for four consecutive years starting from [range of years served]. I signed one contract per year for a total of 4 contracts signed in four years. Enclosed are copies of the contracts in both Thai and English.

2. Bring someone with you to the labour department who is literate in the Thai language to assist you communicate with the labour officers.

The importance of this point can be illustrated by the fact that the Filipina teacher’s case under review here was not accurately understood and reported on several occasions until she started bringing her own translator.

Her original complaint stated she paid the agency 60,000 baht as recruitment fee and the head of the school’s MEP department was identified as another agency representative.

In the second report it was stated the teacher already received from the school the salary the teacher was questioning. All three points were totally wrong and she never said it. She never knew it was written that way in the report.

The Filipina teacher signed both reports, which was only written in Thai, without the presence of her own translator.

The inaccurate official reports had caused confusion about her real complaint and had dragged than case longer than needed

Most labour department offices have very few staff who can communicate in English and who can’t be attending many cases at the same time and so it is better to bring your own able translator to avoid miscommunicating your complaint.

3. The most difficult prerequisite to meet before filing your complaint is to identify the exact nature of your complaint, especially when there are multiple issues and parties involved in your case.

Test yourself on how you would present your case given the following facts and circumstances (these are based on an actual labour case concerning a Filipina teacher).

Facts:

A) The Filipina teacher had worked for the concerned government school as an English teacher from 2014-2016 by signing two consecutive work contracts for the period of 2014-15 and 2015-2016.

B) The first contract signed with the school stipulated a salary of 50,000 baht per month.

C) The same contract stated the teacher’s monthly salary will be forwarded to the bank account of Ms X, an agency representative, who in turn will hand over the salary to the said Filipina teacher.

D) Before the money reaches Ms X, the salaries of the Filipina teacher, as well as other foreign teachers, are first forwarded to the bank account of another person, who is not connected to the same school employing the said Filipina teacher, then a teacher of the concerned school withdraws the money and hands them over to the director of the Mini-English Programme of the school, who in turn transfers the money to Ms X.

E) For 2014-2015 employment, the Filipina teacher had also signed a contract with a supposed agency. The contract did not specify the monthly salary among others, however, the teacher was given 25,000 baht per month by the agency. Read details of the contract.

F) The teacher’s work permit was issued in the name of the school she is teaching at.

G) For the school year 2015-2016, the teacher signed another contract with school for the same amount as in the previous contract, which she actually received directly from the school in full less taxes. The contract did not state that her salary will be given by Ms X.

H) She did not sign any agency contract.

If you were in the Filipina teacher’s shoes, what complain would you have raised and how would you have presented your case?

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