Monday, August 17, 2015

Pinoy bakery owner in LA denies maltreating workers

The Filipino owner of a French bakery in Los Angeles has denied allegations that they maltreated their workers.
 
In a report by The Daily Breeze, Ana Santos Moitinho de Almeida said that her 11 Filipino workers told "blatant lies" to intimidate her and her husband, Goncalo and force them to entering into a settlement.
 
"I have treated them like family, shouldering many of their financial needs including educational, medical, dental, disaster relief, clothing and housing needs, for decades," Almeida said.
 
Almeida also said in the report that photos would prove that the 11 workers were actually on vacation during the days that they were supposedly working "the excessive hours."
 
"Many photos that place them in other places (beach, Las Vegas, New York, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Tijuana, Hollywood, etc.) while they claim to have been working at the bakery," the bakery owner said.
 
The workers claimed that they worked under "oppressive and discriminatory conditions" for $3 an hour with no days off and were forced to reimburse the bakery owner $11,000 unless they commit to working for three years.
 
Almeida said their good relations with the employees can also be proven by photos.
 
She said "lawyers and the AAAJ (Asian Americans Advancing Justice) have exploited these themes for their own interests without performing adequate due diligence as they should have."
 
Latham & Watkins represent the 11 Filipino plaintiffs, who are also being assisted by the advocacy group AAAJ.
 
 
The L'Amande owner has denied shutting down their bakeries to liquidate their assets and have them transferred outside the reach of court.
 
Almeida said they were no longer "financially viable" to keep the bakeries open, citing the "never-ending fees" the come with the lawsuit. Rie Takumi/ALG, GMA News

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