A domestic helper who claimed she was beaten by her employer's son and forced to work illegally in a restaurant took her fight for wages to court yesterday. Nenita de Nicolas, 30, had been hired by Lee Fung-lan to work in the family's flat. A standard two-year contract for her domestic services was signed in June last year but, according to Ms de Nicolas, the job soon turned into a nightmare, the Court of First Instance heard. Her lawyer, barrister Rupert Spicer, asked for an 'authoritative ruling' from the court on labour disputes involving domestic workers. The defendant alleged she was allowed only limited sleep on the dining room floor of the flat and forced to work long hours in the family's Kennedy Town restaurant, Mr Spicer said. 'This was in breach of the contract which the employer had signed. She was not given proper time off and alleges the employer's son assaulted her. He kicked her and hit her with a knife. 'She described him as abnormal and claimed she was assaulted on five occasions.' Ms de Nicolas wrote to the Immigration Department on August 7, 1996, claiming she had been 'cynically exploited' by her employer. She left her job soon after. Her employer told the department the domestic worker had been let go because of 'communication problems'. The dispute was heard by the Labour Tribunal, which awarded Ms de Nicolas one month's salary of $3,700. Ms de Nicolas went to court yesterday to appeal this decision and ask for the remaining 23 months' pay in accordance with her contract. As a result of her restaurant work Ms de Nicolas was convicted in a magistrate's court of breaching the terms of her stay, which prevents her from working in Hong Kong, Mr Spicer said. Deputy Judge Clare Marie Beeson will give her ruling on October 6.