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Whitman Housekeeper Claims Abuse

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 29, 2010 2:12 PM

A press conference was held today, September 29, by controversial attorney Gloria Allred who is representing the former housekeeper of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. According to the statement released by Allred, the Whitman housekeeper, Nicky Santillan, suffered emotional and financial abuse and will file claims with the California Labor Commission for back wages and mileage.

Closer to the heart of the matter, reports TMZ, are claims by Santillan that Whitman knew about her status as an undocumented worker and ignored it until her candidacy for governor was announced. According to the statement by Allred, Santillan was fired in June 2009, two months after Whitman began her campaign.

ABC reports that Whitman's camp believes Allred is manipulating the situation for her own benefit. "With the polls tied, it comes as no surprise that the morning after a successful debate for Meg that the sleaze machine of the political left is now focused on the politics of personal destruction," Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera said in a statement.

Employers have a responsibility to insure that their employees are legally able to work in the U.S. Under the E-Verify system, an employer can receive information about the status of an employee. After the check, if the social security number and name of an employee do not match, for example, the employee is required to contact the Social Security Administration to clear up the matter. If they cannot, the employer must terminate their employment.

According to Nicky Santillan, Whitman received a letter from the Social Security Administration saying her (Santillan's) social security number did not match her name, but no action was taken. Whitman's representatives have released documents claiming the Whitman housekeeper made false representations to the agency she worked for regarding her legal status.

ABC reports that Whitman's reps have pointed out that this is not the first time Gloria Allred has been involved in a suit against a Republican candidate for governor. In 2003, Allred represented a woman who made claims of sexual assault against then-candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger near the end of the election cycle. The lawsuit was later dismissed.

Other claims of abuse against Whitman have already surfaced this year. A former employee claimed she was pushed and verbally abused by the former eBay CEO in 2007. That suit was settled for about $200,000.

The race for governor in California between Whitman and Attorney General Jerry Brown is currently in a dead heat.

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