Meg Whitman insists she acted as soon as she learned of her housekeeper/nanny's illegal status to fire her. Gloria Allred is representing the ex-nanny saying she has the proof in a letter the nanny kept from the government informing Whitman that her employees' social security number appeared to be invalid. Whitman denies ever seeing the letter.
We spoke with Fresno attorney Michael Woods who specializes in employee litigation. He told us the legal action brought by Allred is politically motivated. Woods explained that, "It's much more serious for a politician who's running on a platform insisting that employers employ only legal aliens or people who are entitled to work."
California is home to more than 2 and half million illegal immigrants. That number may be down by one-hundred thousand from last year but opinions on their benefit to California is under hot debate these days.
Woods says it is up to you to determine the status of whoever you hire to work regularly inside your home like as Whitman did. Your lawn service on the other hand is responsible for the workers brought along to do the work, just as a house cleaning company does. In both cases the homeowner isn't responsible for the legal status. But if you hire person to be at your home doing what you ask and being paid directly by you should be sure that person has legal status.
Woods said, "If you are regularly employing somebody you should be aware that you're required to obtain verification of their legal entitlement to work in the United States." And there are federal laws on certain taxes you pay on the salary of your employee to document.
Still, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement its focus isn't on illegal immigrants working in people's homes. It released a statement to the media that reads: "In the workplace ... enforcement strategy focuses on identifying employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers and engage in related crimes such as worker exploitation, visa fraud and human smuggling and trafficking."
That fact hasn't slowed Gloria Allred's focus on Whitman or her support of fellow democrat Jerry Brown. Michael Woods, "If Ms. Whitman were not running for office I doubt this would have gotten any attention the, I'm certain it would not have gotten the attention it did."
All of this adds new interest to the second debate between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown October 2nd at Fresno state.