Updated below with Diaz Santillan's wage claim at 3:35 p.m.
In the latest in the escalating war of words between Meg Whitman and her maid, Nicky Diaz Santillan took to the microphones today to say that the Republican nominee for governor never treated her like a member of the family.
Diaz Santillan's attorney, Gloria Allred, said that Whitman did not send a gift when her maid's baby was born, never called or sent a card, and never called to find out how she was doing during the eight months she was at home with the baby.
“Meg, don't say I was part of your family because you never treated me like I was,” Diaz Santillan said.
Allred called the press conference to rebut Whitman's claim that she was manipulating Diaz Santillan.
“I make my own decisions and I am not anyone's puppet,” Diaz Santillan said. “Nobody made me do it. Meg Whitman was wrong when she said that someone put a gun to my head.”
Diaz Santillan teared up twice during the press conference — once
during the English-language portion, and a bit more during the Spanish
She said she spoke out on behalf of other undocumented workers who are exploited by their employers.
“It is not fair that we work hard and then get thrown away like garbage with no thought about what will happen to us,” Diaz Santillan said.
Allred said she had filed a claim with the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for unpaid wages. She refused repeatedly to name the attorney who referred Diaz Santillan to her, and avoided answering whether her actions were politically motivated.
She did say that she last saw Jerry Brown a year or two ago, while waiting for a plane at the Sacramento airport.
She also said that Whitman was attacking her instead of Diaz Santillan because Whitman is trying to avoid alienating Latino voters.
“The strategy is apparent,” Allred said. “I'm willing to accept these attacks.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last night that Whitman's former nanny, Jill Armstrong, quit after two months because the job was too demanding. She also said she believes Diaz Santillan's story.
Update, 3:35 p.m. Last week, Diaz Santillan filed a claim against Whitman for $6,210 in back wages. Allred seems to have arrived at this figure by estimating that Diaz Santillan worked 18 hours per week, but was only paid for 15 hours. She then took the balance of 3 hours per week, multiplied it by $23/hr., and and multiplied that by 21 months — which is the total period that Diaz Santillan was employed by Whitman within the past three years.
Three years is the statute of limitations on this sort of thing, so Diaz Santillan can't claim wages all the way back to when she was first hired in 2000.
Dean Fryer, a spokesman for the Department of Industrial Relations, said that in such cases a conference between the employer and the employee is typically scheduled within 30 days. No such conference has yet been scheduled in this case. If the case does not resolve at that point, it goes to an administrative hearing.
Below, a Google street view of Meg Whitman's house in Atherton.
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