In its complaint the Department of Labour alleges Ms Bhatia paid her domestic service worker $400 a month plus food and housing for work performed during 15 and a half hours a day, seven days a week, at her homes in Capistrano, Miami, Las Vegas, and California.
She was forced to sleep in the garage on a piece of carpet with Bhatia’s dogs when she was ill, and she was left without food when Bhatia would leave her residence for days. Bhatia also confiscated Ningwal’s passport, restricting her movements, and only made it available to the domestic when she had to travel to perform her domestic services at Bhatia’s penthouse.
In 2014 Bhatia terminated Ningwal after she caught her researching the labour laws online and after she refused to sign a document Bhatia authored, stating she was being paid an adequate wage and she had no employment disputes with Bhatia.
The Labour Department found that Bhatia had violated the Fair Labour Standards Act’s minimum wage and record keeping provisions.