NEW YORK: An Indian-American CEO has been ordered to pay $ 135k to her earlier maid after a Labour Department investigation found she low paid and abused her.
Himanshu Bhatia, CEO of Rose International and IT staffing, will have to pay her previous live-in maid back wages and damages under the terms of a consent verdict entered into the US District Court for the Central District of California.
The judgment, entered on April 11, decides a complaint filed by the US Department of Labour in August previous year. An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Himanshu Bhatia intentionally and frequently violated federal labour laws’ minimum wage and record-keeping provisions from July 2012 to December 2014.
The complaint purported that Indian-American CEO Himanshu Bhatia paid her maid, who had been identified in an earlier complaint as Sheela Ningwal, a fixed monthly salary of $ 400 plus food and housing at Ms Himanshu Bhatia ‘s home in San Juan Capistrano and other residences in Miami, Las Vegas and Long Beach.
Investigators found that the employee suffered “callous abuse” and reprisal, including being forced to sleep on a piece of carpet in the garage when ill, while Ms Himanshu Bhatia’s dogs slept on a mattress nearby. The complaint also supposed that Ms Himanshu Bhatia seized Ms Sheela Ningwal’s passport.
Ms Himanshu Bhatia fired the worker in December 2014 after she allegedly found her employee researching labour laws online, and after the worker refused to sign a document stating she was being paid a satisfactory salary and had no employment quarrel with Ms Bhatia.
“This consensus judgment underlines the department’s commitment to shielding workers from exploitation,” stated Janet Herold, solicitor for the Department of Labour’s Western Region.
“The department will take strong and instant action to guarantee that workers are protected against retaliation.”