Whitman Scandal Highlights Vulnerability of Domestic Workers

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/AP) – Domestic workers held a rally Friday calling for greater legal protection of employees who work in other people’s homes.

The two dozen child care workers, housekeepers and caregivers who demonstrated outside the women’s building said the allegations of gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s former house keeper echoed very common complaints in their professions.

“Studies that we’ve done of domestic workers here in the Bay Area show that they are routinely exploited. They’re paid less than minimum wage or not paid for extra hours worked,” said Andrea Mendoza of the Domestic Workers Coalition.

KCBS Anna Duckworth Reporting:

Whitman’s campaign was shaken by accusations Wednesday that she and her husband may have known about a 2003 letter from the Social Security Administration that raised discrepancies about her housekeeper’s documents, a possible tip-off that she could be in the U.S. illegally.

Mendoza’s organization is pressing state lawmakers to pass a bill of rights for California’s estimated 2.5 domestic workers similar to one approved in New York earlier this year.

Whitman characterized her former housekeeper, 39-year-old Nicky Diaz Santillan, as a member of her “extended family.” She dismissed the affair as a politically motivated attack instigated by the campaign of her Democratic rival, Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Bill Hing, a University of San Francisco professor who specializes in immigration law and policy, said Whitman broke no laws by keeping her housekeeper employed even after getting a letter from the Social Security Administration.

“If the reason she fired the employee was simply based on that no match letter, then that’s not sufficient. If the person however admitted that she was undocumented, then Meg Whitman had an obligation to fire her,” he said.

Hing said Whitman could have faced discrimination charges if the firing had occurred before the housekeeper admitted to being undocumented.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Anna Duckworth
Comments

One Comment

  1. ah says:

    It’s people like Whitman, or in other word, the legals, who are vulnerable, not the illegals. How are these people exploited when this woman earned $23/hour? Mendoza needs to lose her job. This illegal ought to be deported already.

    1. pixeldoctor says:

      yes agreed!

  2. C.J. Jones says:

    Scandal??? How about SMEAR!!!!!!!!

  3. RE says:

    I SAY IF THE USA HAS NO RECORD OF YOU , THEN YOU DONT EXCIST, SO YOU HAVE NO CLAIM TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING. THE AGENCIES SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLES , THEY BROUGHT THIS PROBLEM TO MEG WITMAN, BY NOT CHECKING HER STATUS MORE CLOSELY THE VICTIM IS MEG

    1. pixeldoctor says:

      Very good point. The legals are the victims nowadays. We are the ones paying for increased taxes, healthcare, services , property taxes while the illegals are partying in their huge SUVs, dropping anchor babies like there is no tomorrow.

  4. RE says:

    look in the dictionary define ILleIGAL wow I cant even afford a paralegal !this women doesnt excist here in the good old USA and she has gloria a amazing

  5. dm says:

    She was being paid $23 and hour for 8 hours, but she had to put in 12 to 14 hours a day for the same 8 hours pay, and probably worked 7 days a week without any overtime.
    Maybe some of you unemployed people should ask Meg for that position.
    Read the facts before getting to conclusions, and Yes! she is an illegal and Meg knew it all along.

  6. meg says:

    thus meg is a horrible person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live