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Ex-worker for Licadho sues for $11,000

A LAWYER formerly employed by local human rights group Licadho has filed a lawsuit against the organisation, accusing it of wrongful dismissal and demanding over US$11,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit, filed to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on May 11, lawyer Pek Vannak requested that Licadho’s executive director Naly Pilorge pay him US$5,112 as an indemnity for lost wages and $6,000 to compensate for mental damage arising from his dismissal.

“Licadho’s director decided to fire me from the organisation according to her personal view, without a letter of notification or an oral agreement beforehand,” the lawsuit read.

“This unjust accusation and ... this violation of the law I cannot accept.”

The lawsuit states that Pek Vannak worked for Licadho from April 2003 until his dismissal on November 12 last year, and alleges that he was fired after committing a few minor transgressions.

“The court follows the law, and if they find that [I did not commit] a serious mistake Licadho must pay an indemnity for firing me and for mental damage according to the Labour Law,” he said Sunday.

Pek Vannak also said that other Licadho workers were fired under similar circumstances and without severance pay, accusing the organisation of violating the Labour Law.

“This organisation is a human rights organisation, but on the contrary, the director does not respect human rights,” he added.

Naly Pilorge could not be reached for comment Sunday, but Pung Chhiv Kek, Licadho’s president, stood by the dismissal, saying it was prompted by Pen Vannak’s own poor performance.

“It is Vannak’s right to file a civil suit, but we are ready to respond with strong evidence of the rightful dismissal of Pek Vannak,” she said.

Ke Sakhan, deputy president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said the court summoned Naly Pilorge to appear on May 12, but that she had requested a postponement until June 15. He said a decision has not yet been made on when the case will be heard.

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