As reported by PTI, the Department of Labor alleged that Bhatia paid her domestic service worker $400 a month (around Rs 26,554) along with food and accommodation.
The domestic worker, who has been identified as Sheela Ningwal, worked for 15 1/2 hours a day, all seven days a week, at Bhatia’s home in San Juan Capistrano and her other residences in Miami, Las Vegas and Long Beach, California.
She was subjected to physical and verbal abuse. The complaint also alleged that Bhatia confiscated Ningwal’s passport, restricting her movement and only handed her the passport when she was needed at her Miami penthouse.
Bhatia terminated Ningwal in December 2014 when she refused to sign a document Bhatia authored, stating that she was being paid an adequate salary and had no employment dispute.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Bhatia violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and record keeping provisions from July 2012 to December 2014, as well as the act’s anti-retaliation provision.