Is it just me, or does a $5,500 settlement sound like a "why even bother?" amount. I mean, compared to the $140 million + Whitman spent on her unsuccessful attempt to buy the governorship of California (including $2 million spent the day before election day ALONE),associating a dollar figure like $5,500 with Whitman seems like chump change. Oh, wait! It IS chump change!
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has agreed to pay her former housekeeper $5,500 in unpaid wages to settle a dispute that erupted in the final month of the campaign.
The settlement was reached Wednesday during a closed meeting at the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in San Jose. Whitman did not attend. Her husband, Dr. Griffith Harsh IV, attended with a family lawyer.
The Whitmans did not admit wrongdoing.
Whitman's campaign began to lose public support after it was revealed that her former housekeeper of nine years was an illegal immigrant. The former eBay CEO had portrayed herself as tough on immigration and said she fired Nicky Diaz Santillan when she discovered her status.
Diaz Santillan told reporters Wednesday that she came forward so other housekeepers would not face discrimination.
Whitman lost the election to Democrat Jerry Brown.
Well, if you're the housekeeper who is now unemployed and has gone ultra-public with your undocumented status making future employment even more difficult, AND you have burned the bridge to the one person on the entire planet who would actually pay you 26 bucks an hour to be a housekeeper--the same employer you sold out for fifteen minutes of fame with a notorious shakedown artist attorney--you'd want whatever you could get by way of back wages or anything else you had coming or could extort.
(My real question is, how bad did that woman get hosed if she actually needs the 5 grand? I wonder what Brown's boys offered her and are now not paying up.)
I am in full agreement that this housekeeper didn't come forward on her own. I believe Gloria Allred is fully capable of doing this on her own, but then again, Jerry knows how to work the back channels to make hits without getting his hands dirty.
Still and all, I have to wonder why Whitman, when she found out about her housekeeper's status, didn't offer to help her become legal? She'd worked for her for 9 years!
And yes, coming forward as she did does pretty much limit the housekeeper's future employment options in the US. Not to mention that even employers who are not running for public office and thus don't take the whole illegal status thing quite so seriously will likely not pay anywhere close to $26 and hour...
But where in the world did they get that $5,500 figure? That is just the oddest court settlement amount EVER. Why not $25K just to make it seem like a "settlement." Or then again, if Whitman did nothing wrong, then why not find for the defendant and award Nikki nothing at all?
It's the amount that is puzzling to me.
Well, I can't say specifically on the amount, because you are right, it's definitely not a round number or the type of thing people might think intuitively makes sense. However, I would be willing to bet that the amount is what it is because it is the precise amount they calculated she owed her in back wages and, perhaps, some interest added to it. It looks like a real number rather than a punitive award.
I'm thinking, the $5,500 amount is the actual pay amount owed. I'm also thinking, maybe the courts only allowed pay for what was actually owed because she was in the country Illegally - therefore other laws don't apply because she isn't a legal citizen (?). Or, maybe the housekeeper only asked for the actual amount owed, and therefore, was only awarded the amount she requested.
But, seriously, I gotta question how Meg Whitman could have had an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper for 9 years and not known it! And then she runs for governor? No wonder she lost - she doesn't pay attention to whats going on right under her own nose! And, she obviously doesn't know what she's doing when it comes to leadership - otherwise she would have handled the matter some other way.
As for the housekeeper getting another job - no problem. All she has to do is get a fake id, and nobody will know the difference. Believe me, she had the patience, tenacity, and willpower to make it to the US to begin with. It wont take half as much patience, tenacity, or willpower to stay here until she can find another good paying job that a legal American "refuses" to do.
Good points, Rafini.
The newspapers here in CA have been rife with articles about how extremely easy it is to work as an illegal alien -- providing fake ID. It's sort of the underground economy's version of "don't ask don't tell."
The courts here are a bit inconsistent, too. What you suggest -- that they limited her payment to back wages that were actually owed but nothing more because of her illegal status -- makes sense.
But on the other side of the coin, a ruling just came down that allows illegal aliens in CA colleges to pay in-state (lower) tuition rates the same as legal residents. Haven't heard the backlash on this one yet, but am sure there will be one.
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