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Domestic worker sues former employers for sexual harassment

A former live-in housekeeper and nanny in San Francisco, California, filed a lawsuit against her former employers for alleged sexual harassment and wage theft.

Julieta Yang, 45, is a single mother of three from the Philippines who worked for a married couple of tech executives with two children. Yang began working for the couple in Singapore in March 2008 and later moved with them to San Francisco in July 2013 when they offered to triple her wages. She lived with them until she quit her job in April 2015.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 7. According to the complaint, Yang was subjected to a “sexually hostile work and home environment.” She was also denied minimum wage and overtime during her employment. Her lawsuit alleges 16 causes of action against the couple. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as back pay.

According to the complaint, the husband regularly subjected Yang to “nudity, comments of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual advances and unwanted touching” when his wife was traveling for work. In one such incident, he allegedly asked Yang to massage his legs with a rolling pin.

She also claimed she was paid a “fixed weekly rate of $450” throughout her employment in San Francisco despite often working nine hours per day, six days a week. She was also not paid overtime nor provided with legally mandated rest and meal breaks.

The nation’s 2.5 million domestic workers are often vulnerable to sexual harassment and wage theft, according to Hina Shah, director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law. Many domestic workers hesitate to complain about poor working conditions due to their immigration status and lack of options.

If you feel that you may have experienced sexual harassment at the workplace, contact the employment law experts at McCormack & Erlich for a free evaluation. Call us at 415.296.8420.

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