Sacked consultant in TV licence row sues former employer for HK$4m

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2014, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 5:08am

A consultant who was sacked after speaking out about the government's controversial decision on free-to-air TV licences is seeking HK$4 million from her former employer.

Jenny Ng Pui-ying, the former head of the Hong Kong office of Spectrum Strategy Consultants, told the Labour Tribunal yesterday that the company failed to pay bonuses and compensation for holidays not taken.

The company, also known as Value Partners, compiled a report on free-to-air television licences for the government. After the government announced the rejection of Hong Kong Television Network's application in October, Ng accused the government of misquoting her firm's report on the free-television market.

Ng quit her job in February but was dismissed before she left.

She told the tribunal she quit after getting US$15 million in funding to start a technology business. She said she had been unable to talk to the CEO of the Italian company since January, and felt there was no longer trust between the company and her.

Maurizio Minelli, a manager at the company, told the tribunal that Ng was sacked because she diverted business to other companies, worked for competitors and disclosed confidential information.

Ng denied the claims. She said the company promised to pay her a US$300,000 bonus before the end of last year, but never did.

Principal presiding officer Eric Tam Lee-cheung said Ng would have a good chance of getting the bonus and HK$300,000 compensation for statutory holidays that she did not take if the case continued.

He suggested the parties settle for about HK$2.9 million.

Tam also criticised the company for not being able to distinguish contractual leave from statutory leave after Minelli said it was policy that holidays could not be carried forward to another year. Tam said Ng was entitled to her statutory holidays even if she could not take them all in a year.

He also described Minelli's argument that Ng was only entitled to her bonus if she was supportive of the company as "rubbish". He said the agreement between Ng and the company chief executive was not subject to any conditions.

Minelli said the company needed time to consider the case, and its CEO might come from Italy to give evidence.

The case was adjourned to next month.