Injured postman who fears he will lose job sues for $3m

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2000, 12:00am

A postman who suffered back injuries at work is suing the Postmaster-General for more than $3 million.

Included in the claim is Lam Wut-man's $1.6 million alleged loss of future earnings. The remainder is for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of amenities.

Mr Lam, 24, who makes $9,400 a month as a postman plus allowances for overtime, fears he will lose his job after the Court of First Instance case and will not be able to find better work.

He twisted his back while pulling a trolley in Tsim Sha Tsui on June 29, 1996. His probation was not confirmed as a result of his back pain and sick leave, he says. He took 50 days of medical leave after the incident. Government doctors had advised him to undertake only permanent light duties.

But his counsel Allen Lam said: 'There is no such thing as permanent light-duty work. We say he will not be able to perform the full duty of a postman.' This would probably lead to the loss of his job due to his invalid status, the lawyer said.

'The Government can ask a civil servant to leave the civil service because he is not physically or medically fit to perform his duties . . . It is not dismissal or non-confirmation of probation. But the effect is the same,' Mr Lam said.

The Postmaster-General agrees to some of the items of claim but rejects the $1.6 million for future loss of earnings. The hearing, before Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad, continues tomorrow.