Now Meg Whitman Has Her Own Undocumented Employee Scandal

Illustration for article titled Now Meg Whitman Has Her Own Undocumented Employee Scandal

Today, with Gloria Allred at her side, Nicky Diaz Santillan held a press conference to declare that gubernatorial candidate — her former boss — Meg Whitman "exploited, disrespected, humiliated and emotionally and financially abused" her. What are the charges?

Santillan worked as a housekeeper in the Whitman home between 2000 and 2009, until she abruptly left. The sides differ on why she left, but this is what they boil down to, per Politico: "Whitman's lawyer, Tom Hiltachk, said Whitman fired her after she 'confessed' her status. Allred said Whitman fired the housekeeper after she asked Whitman's help getting legal status."

Whitman's people say she was deceived because Santillan filled out papers swearing she was working legally in the U.S. But Santillan says Whitman must have known because letters were sent saying Santillan's Social Security number didn't match her name, and also because Whitman never left the country. Allred called it a classic case of "don't ask, don't tell," according to TMZ.


"I believe Nicky is being manipulated by Gloria Allred for political and financial purposes during the last few weeks of a hotly contested election," says the Whitman statement. "This is a shameful example of the politics of personal destruction practiced by people like Jerry Brown and Gloria Allred. The charges are without merit."

Aside from the legal issues and her firing, Santillan did not offer any other examples of emotional or financial abuse.

So-called "nanny scandals" are usually the provenance of female politicians, although thanks to the likes of Bernard Kerik that's no longer exclusively true. They sit at the crossroads of seemingly endless culture-war issues: immigration, class, employee rights, and implicit judgment of working moms. Oh, and hypocrisy: as TMZ notes, "Yesterday, Whitman said in the debate with Jerry Brown that employers should be held accountable for hiring undocumented workers."

Whitman's Nanny [Politico]
Meg Whitman's Housekeeper: Undocumented [TMZ]
Meg Whitman: My Maid's Full Of IT [TMZ]

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Well, yeah. I live in LA and when I take the bus through Malibu, it stops at all of these mansions and picks up the Mexican and Central American maids. When I jog in Santa Monica during gardening day, the yards are filled with Mexican/Central American men manicuring the lawns. I spent my first 10 years in the job market working in restaurants in which the kitchens are filled with Mexican/Central American immigrants. I would estimate that 10-15% are here legally. If that. Upper middle class and wealthy rely on the labor of immigrants, mostly undocumented to clean, nanny, do yardwork, and keep restaurant and produce prices low. We know this. The hypocrisy is what stings. If the employers treat them well, pay them well, and advocate for the legalization of their employees, I have no problem with it.

But then again, many of my relatives are undocumented immigrants, so my perspective may be a little different.