Jail for maid who filled family's jug with toilet bowl water, used employer's facial products: Report
SINGAPORE: A domestic worker who used her employer's facial products as well as filled the family's water jug with toilet bowl water was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Monday (Sep 27), according to a report by TODAY.
Gozar Rose Magtanong, who claimed she had been mistreated by her employer, pleaded guilty to one charge each of mischief and dishonest misappropriation of property.
The 32-year-old Filipino had worked for a Singapore permanent resident, her husband and their two-year-old son in a condominium unit around Marine Parade, TODAY reported.
CCTV CAUGHT MAID USING FACIAL PRODUCTS 28 TIMES
In June last year, Gozar’s employer noticed that her cosmetic creams in the master bedroom were depleting faster than usual.
She also noticed finger impressions in the creams when she herself would only lightly swipe through the product, according to TODAY.
The employer proceeded to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras overlooking her kitchen and the bedroom’s walk-in wardrobe.
The CCTV footage showed Gozar using the creams on 28 occasions from Jul 29 to Sep 8 last year, TODAY reported.
The affected products were: Revive facial serum, Etude House facial cream and La Prairie anti-wrinkle cream valued at a total of S$797.
Gozar's employers then took her to a maid agency - JPB Employment Agency - on Sep 10 with the intention of terminating her employment.
During an interview by the agency’s customer service officer, TODAY reported that Gozar admitted to spitting her saliva into a jug that the family drank water from.
She also confessed that she had filled the jug with water from the toilet bowl on many occasions.
Gozar said she would do so by dipping a rag, which she used to wipe the television and tables, inside the toilet bowl. She then wrung the rag into a pail, before transferring the water into the jug, said TODAY.
A few days after the interview, Gozar's employer reviewed footage from the CCTV and saw that Gozar had spat into the water jug on Aug 31.
The employer, her husband and son had unwittingly drank from it afterwards, according to TODAY.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Teo told the court that Gozar began doing all this in September 2019, with no reason for doing so.
ALLEGED MISTREATMENT DURING EMPLOYMENT
In mitigation, Gozar’s lawyer Kevin Liew said that she had been put under "a less than favourable environment".
"This is not to absolve herself of her mistake, but she urges the court to take cognisance of the stressors she was facing," said Mr Liew.
"These were not actively provided by Gozar but it came out when we questioned her on why she did it."
Detailing some of the alleged mistreatment that Gozar experienced during her employment, Mr Liew said Gozar would sleep at midnight and wake up around dawn.
Her employer also purportedly kept her mobile phone so Gozar could not contact her family, TODAY reported.
Regarding Gozar's diet, Mr Liew said that what she ate would be considered by a reasonable person to be "poor". This included bread and coffee in the morning, porridge in the afternoon and leftovers in the evening.
“She was reprimanded for eating eggs in the residence. She weighed nearly 40kg when employed there. When she made mistakes, she would be scolded with language such as being stupid," Mr Liew added, according to TODAY.
The domestic worker also claimed that she is owed two months and 10 days’ of salary. The prosecutor clarified that the Ministry of Manpower is investigating the matter.
Mr Liew said that Gozar had asked on numerous occasions to be transferred. She had also told the maid agency that she wanted to run away, but was convinced to stay to provide for her three children back home in the Philippines, the report said.
The prosecutor said that these complaints should have no mitigating weight on the sentence to be imposed as they were not borne out by present investigations, adding that Gozar did not need to commit the offences.
According to TODAY, District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed and said that it was "something that cannot be condoned".
“If you have any grievances, there are legitimate channels for you to (air them) but it’s not right to do it the way you’ve done,” he added.
For both offences of mischief and misappropriation, Gozar could have been jailed for up to two years or fined, or both.