3 Pinay maids sue ex-oil CEO, wife over 'slave' treatment
Three Filipino domestic helpers have filed a lawsuit against the former chief executive officer of a petroleum company and his wife for allegedly trafficking them into the US from the Middle East and confining them at their mansion, reports said.
A report on Los Angeles Times said Melanie Belonio, Elena Gabriel and Trinidad Dela Cruz are seeking compensation from former Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Ray Irani and wife Ghada for allegedly making them work at their eight-bedroom, 14-bathroom Bel-Air mansion for up to 16 hours a day, six to seven days a week.
They also said the couple kept their passports in a safe and closely monitored their movements while Ghada, the one-time chair of the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund regional board in Southern California, denigrated them and their nationality.
A report on My News LA said Ghada even told the women and her guests that "It is in the blood of Filipinos to be stealers."
The women received a salary of $1,200 a month without overtime despite working over regular hours, the reports said.
The Iranis' brought Belonio and Gabriel to the US from Lebanon in 2013 from their summer home by pretending that the women worked for the Qatari royal family, with whom Ray Irani allegedly has close ties.
Meanwhile, Dela Cruz was transferred from Ghada's relatives in Saudi Arabia in 1997 and claimed to have worked without proper compensation for nearly two decades.
The Los Angeles. Times reported that the three women secured right-to-sue letters from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing on March 29 before filing the lawsuit.
According to his profile on Forbes, Ray Irani was voted out from from Occidental Petroleum Corp. in 2013 by other board members outraged over his high executive compensation.
His wife Ghada is a known philantrophist whom The Ghada Irani Fund, a discretionary fund supporting an endowment for the Women’s Rights in the Middle East Program. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News
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