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Domestic worker sues Atherton couple for wages, allegedly illegal practices

Original post made on Mar 14, 2008

A 69-year-old housekeeper has filed a federal lawsuit against an Atherton couple, charging them with illegal employment practices for making her work for long hours at far below minimum wage. Vilma Serralta of San Mateo led a group of domestic workers in a protest march along Isabella Avenue in Atherton on Thursday, March 13, that culminated in a press conference in front of the home of Sakhawat and Roomy Khan. The 9,400-square-foot home is currently on the market with an asking price of $17.9 million.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 14, 2008, 4:58 PM

Comments (5)

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 14, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Ms. Serralta was taken advantage of. There is no question about it.

I hope the Khans pay dearly. I also hope that other "Atherton families" who practice similar lifestyles change their ways.

I am glad that this is being brought to the light. Ms. Serralta is certainly not the only one who suffered/suffers such conditions.

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Posted by Diana
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm

If you think this kind of treatment is acceptable then you are ridiculous. The mistreatment by upper class families to their domestic staff is unacceptable. If you can afford multi-million dollar homes, then you can afford to pay the one who actually cleans your home and raises your children a decent wage.

If you think she is trying to raise a commotion for media attention, then I dare you to try her job for a day. Leave your pompous attitude at the door and allow yourself to be subjected to the every whim of another individual.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

In cases like this, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the moment. $4 an hour doen't sound like much, but they provided her room and board...which for a 60+ year old woman must have been worth MORE than she was making per hour (especially in an ATHERTON address). And come on, watching her kid after school couln't have been too big a chore...I mean..they worked from they were there too.

And I kind of doubt they were "cracking the whip" to hard on this old lady...I mean, you can only get so much blood out of a stone. If they wanted slave labor, they could have gotton younger/stronger with looking too hard.

This sounds like a typical case of someone getting fired, and taking their sour grapes out on someone that they consider "rich" and and "easy target". This is definitly a favorite target of the ACIL and other liberal groups who love getting themselves all wrapped up in this type of witch hunt.

Bummer they're moving...must have really messed up their rally!

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Posted by Mira
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 18, 2008 at 8:37 am

A word of advice, Steve. If you want to engage in provocative satire, learn a little from the pros. You might start with Swift. Good luck.

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Posted by Aghast
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

The Almanac article says she was "arbitrarily fired." The Chronicle reported that she was fired for not taking out the garbage one night (I'll bet it was after one of her 14-hour workdays) and one of these royal humanitarians complained that the chicken bones smelled. Is there a special room in hell for this kind of behavior?

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