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Whitman Accused of Wage and Hour Violations, and Employing Illegal Housekeeper

October 7, 2010

In recent high-profile news that our Anaheim employment attorneys have been following, last week, gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was accused of mistreatment and California wage and hour violations by her Mexican-born nanny and housekeeper from 2000 to 2009, Nicky Diaz Santillan. The startling piece of news that surfaced in the allegations, is that Diaz is an illegal immigrant. Whitman is being accused of employing the nanny and housekeeper for nine years, aware of her immigration status the entire time. Diaz is being represented by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

The news reportedly broke last week, after the first televised debate between Whitman, former CEO of eBay, and Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown--in which Whitman argued that employers in California must be made accountable for the hiring of workers who are undocumented. Whitman dismisses Diaz's allegations as partisan sabotage, a late-campaign attack, with Gloria Allred, a Democratic donor at the helm.

The allegations claim that Whitman never asked Diaz if she was able to work legally in the country when she hired her to work as a housekeeper for fifteen hours a week, at $23 an hour. As Diaz's hours and responsibilities reportedly increased, she claims that she was treated harshly, and not compensated for years of working overtime hours.

Whitman reportedly denied knowing about Diaz's legal status, as Diaz originally provided a fake Social Security number and statement affirming her legal residency status to a placement agency. Diaz reportedly came to Whitman in 2009, and confessed that she was an illegal worker, with falsified papers. Whitman then fired Diaz, stating that it was a very difficult decision.

Allred claims that a 2003 letter from the Social Security Administration proved that Diaz's Social Security number was not a match, and when the agency asked for proper documentation, Whitman and her husband failed to respond. Whitman denied any such letter, but as our Santa Ana labor and employment lawyers read about last week, a Social Security document that questioned the maid's legal status surfaced with what appeared to be the handwriting of Whitman's husband.

Whitman has blamed the Brown campaign and the Democratic Party for using Diaz and this news story as political manipulation. Diaz rejected his claim, stating that she is not a "pawn" in Brown's campaign, but that she was emotionally and financially abused during the nearly ten years working for Whitman and her family, and that she was fired for political reasons, after Whitman decided to run for governor. Diaz states that after experiencing years of emotional and wage an hour abuse as an employee, she was fired, after coming to Whitman for help about her immigration status.

In Orange County, California contact our Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys at Howard Law, PC, today.

Whitman Says Illegal-Worker Allegations a "Lie," The San Francisco Gate, September 30, 2010

Whitman Housekeeper Says She Was Fired, Treated Like 'Garbage," The Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2010

Meg Whitman Loses Ground in Polls as Nicky Diaz Controversy Drags On, The Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2010

"I'm Not Jerry Brown's Pawn, 'Says Ex-Whitman Maid, The Daily Breeze, October 5, 2010

Whitman's Former Maid Sues, Claims 'Emotional Financial Abuse,' The Daily Breeze, September 29, 2010.

Related Web Resources:

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)