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Meg Whitman Settles with Former Housekeeper

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 18, 2010 5:48 AM

Former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has agreed to pay $5,500 to settle with her former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan. Diaz Santillan came forth with charges that she was owed expenses and back pay for work performed for Whitman and her husband, Dr. Griffith Harsh IV. According to claims made by Diaz Santillan and her attorney Gloria Allred, she was owed payment for hours worked and money for gas and additional expenses incurred during her work. Whitman says she fired Diaz Santillan after 9 years when she discovered she was an illegal alien.

Whitman has maintained that the charges against her were a "baseless smear attack" orchestrated by her opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown and the unions who supported his campaign, reports the Associated Press. The timing of the charges was indeed unfortunate for Whitman's campaign, as she seemed to lose support from Latinos and from independent voters after the charges were made public late in September of this year.

Dr. Harsh and his attorney were present at the two-hour meeting with Allred and Diaz Santillan at the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Whitman and Harsh do not admit to any wrongdoing in settling the charges. Diaz Santillan originally sought between $8,000 and $10,000 in compensation. Whitman was not present at the meeting.

Diaz Santillan's future was not discussed by Allred who says she does not represent her client in immigration matters. Because she is now known to be in the country illegally, it may be very difficult for Diaz Santillan to find work in the future. In addition to strict federal laws, in the last few years, in California, employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants have been facing suits based on claims of unfair competition.

Nicky Diaz Santillan told reporters Wednesday that she came forward so other housekeepers would not face discrimination.

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