Indian American CEO Himanshu Bhatia charged for mistreating domestic help settles the case

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Rose International is a workforce and technology solutions company founded in 1993.

Himanshu Bhatia (Courtesy of her Facebook profile)

Himanshu Bhatia, the Indian American CEO of Rose International and IT staffing company, who was charged for allegedly mistreating her domestic help Sheela Ningwal, an Indian citizen, has settled the case for $135,000.

According to the complaint filed in the Department of Labor, Bhatia underpaid her domestic staff. She forced Ningwal to work long hours at her home in San Juan Capistrano and other luxury residences in Miami, Las Vegas and Long Beach, California.

According to the Labor Department, Bhatia has agreed to pay $54,348 as wages, and additional $54,348 in liquidated damages and $26,304 gross sum damages.

The complainant accused Bhatia of paying mere $400 per month, and some food and a some space to live. Apparently, Ningwal worked 15-and-a-half hour every day, seven days a week at various properties owned by Bhatia.

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“Mrs. Bhatia firmly denies all of the claims made by the Department regarding the employee.  The Bhatias chose to enter into this settlement agreement to resolve a matter for far less than the cost of continuing litigation.  Mrs. Bhatia will continue to focus her efforts on business, community development and her family,” read an official statement from Bhatia family.

US labor Secretary Thomas E Perez’s complaint in the District court of California said that Ningwal was subjected to callous abuse and retaliation.

Bhatia reportedly forced Ningwal to sleep along with her dogs in the garage on a piece of carpet. The complaint further mentioned that Ningwal was usually left at home without enough food, when the owners traveled out of town.

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Ningwal alleged that Bhatia seized her Indian passport, curtailing her rights to travel freely. Bhatia reportedly used the passport whenever she took Ningwal to her residences outside the city for doing domestic chores.

Nigwal was terminated from work in 2014 when Bhatia came to know that she was researching about the labor laws in the US. Bhatia also asked Ningwal to sign a document that said she was being paid adequate salary and has no disputes with her employer, which she refused and filed the complaint.

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According to the findings of the departments of Wage and Hour Division, Bhatia violated the Fair Labor Standards Acts that promises minimum wage for workers. She was also found to have violated the mandatory requirement to maintain proper records of her domestic help. The department identified that between July 2012 and December 2014 no proper records were maintained.

Rose International is a workforce and technology solutions company founded in 1993. It serves companies in all 50 states and has over 6,000 people working for it, across the US. In 2011, Rose International recorded $357 million in revenue.