A friend of mine was employed by from Vietnam by a broker (who is Vietnamese). My friend is required to pay upfront 1000 USD for the fee (payment is made in Vietnam) before coming to the Philippines. When my friend arrived, the broker arrange her to work for a Chinese company located in Pasay city. Without any contract or agreement with the Company, my friend is asked to work for 12h/ day and 7 days/ week. The company hold her passport with promise to process her working visa. After a month, my friend realized that other company would gives her higher salaries at lesser working time and days, hence she resigned. However the Company threaten to not giving back her passport and require my friend to pay 20,000 peso for compensation in order to get back her passport. This matter i have sent to DOLE but haven't received any response yet.
I would love to know your advice on this matter:
1) Can foreign broker act as recruiter in the philippines? is she required to have license from DOLE? is there any law protect workers from this issue?
2) Is the COmpany abuse my friend since she is required to work for 12h/day and 7 days/week?
3) Is the Company has legal rights to withhold her passport and in case there is no contract or any papers can the COmpany requires my friend to pay for any fee?
4) Can i hire a lawyer and file for case? Is it cost huge amount of money if we gonna sue the Company and broker.
Thank a lot.