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Whitman Accused of Hiring, Mistreating an Undocumented Housekeeper

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for California governor, is facing accusations that she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant as her housekeeper and nanny for nine years. Gloria Allred, the lawyer for the maid, said at a press conference today Whitman made the worker “feel exploited, disrespected, humiliated, and emotionally and financially abused.”

Allred claims Whitman never asked for papers and knew the woman, Nicandra Diaz-Santillan, was undocumented, but allowed her to remain an employee. Allred is filing a claim for Diaz-Santillan for unpaid wages and mileage reimbursement.

Whitman’s campaign has fired back, providing TMZ with documents Whitman says were used by Diaz-Santillan to fake her status. The housekeeper was fired after she admitted her status, according to the candidate. “As required by law, once we learned she was an illegal worker, I immediately terminated Nicky’s employment,” Whitman said in the statement.

Of course, Whitman isn’t alone in employing an illegal immigrant as a maid: The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in 2009 that 27 percent of maids and housekeepers in the U.S. are undocumented. But some think it could throw a wrench in her campaign, particularly her faltering effort to reach out to California’s large Latino population.

She also seems likely to be accused of hypocrisy given her stated positions on immigration enforcement. Her campaign website advocates holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers, stating “We are never going to solve the problem of illegal immigration as long as there is strong demand for undocumented labor.”

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