The U.S. Department of Labor is blaming the CEO of a top IT consulting firm who’s been named among top women business leaders of forcing her domestic staff to sleep with the family dogs and work 15 and a half hours per day seven days a week.
The department filed a complaint August 22 against Himanshu Bhatia, otherwise called, the CEO of Rose International, one of the largest privately-held companies in the St. Louis area.
Bhatia employed Sheela Ningwal from July 2012 to December 2014, according to the Department of Labor’s complaint. It said that Bhatia paid Ningwal a fixed monthly salary of $400, plus food and housing, well below the minimum wage, to work at Bhatia’s luxury homes in San Juan Capistrano and Long Beach, California, Las Vegas and Miami, Biz Journals reports.
The department said Bhatia also subjected Ningwal to “callous abuse.”
“For example, whenever Ms. Ningwal was ill, Defendant Bhatia forced Ms. Ningwal to sleep in the garage on a piece of carpet, alongside Defendant Bhatia’s dogs who slept on a mattress, because Defendant Bhatia did not want her or her family exposed to Ms. Ningwal’s illness,” the complaint said. “Often Defendant Bhatia and her family would leave their residence for days and would neglect to leave any food for Ms. Ningwal, who depended on Defendant Bhatia for food and transportation.”
Bhatia’s daughter, Sabina Bhatia, called the claims in the Department of Labor complaint completely false.
“I can’t tell you how shocked, saddened and betrayed my mom is that Sheela Ningwal would say these things that are completely false,” Sabina Bhatia said in a statement. “My mom and dad—all of us in fact—treated Sheela like family. She ate with us and socialized with us. There are tons of photos and videos of these memories. My mom even cared and cooked for her when she was sick.
“For Sheela to say these completely false, awful and hurtful things to the U.S. Department of Labor, and use the government like this, is beyond words,” Sabina Bhatia continued. “People like Sheela should not be allowed to manipulate a system that was designed to help real victims. The truth is exactly the opposite of what Sheela claims. She is not a victim. My mother is as much a warm, loving and caring person as she is a hard-working entrepreneur. It is unfortunate that successful business leaders can so easily become the target of such baseless and false allegations.”
Images: CRN, LinkedIn