NEW YORK — Coming to America from the Middle East was a dream come true for this Filipina domestic worker, Edith Mendoza.
A promise of a steady housekeeping and nanny job that pays $10 dollars an hour for a 35-hour work week, plus overtime pay, with free room and meals, was stated in her contract.
But Mendoza’s American dream turned into a nightmare when her German diplomat employer paid her below minimum wage – at $4 per hour, for working up to a hundred hours with no overtime pay.
“Kung alam ko lang na ganito ang mangyayari, di na sana ako pumunta dito, nagpatuloy na lang sana ako sa qatar, kasi ang ganda ng treatment ng boss ko sa qatar, iisa lang yung alaga kong bata, nakakapag-aral pa ako, nakakauwi pa ako taon-taon.”
Her employer, Pit Koehler, was a civil servant and a delegate of the European Union to the United Nations. He is known for his advocacies on the rights of children.
With the help of Damayan Migrant Workers Association, a grassroots organization of Filipino domestic workers, Edith Mateo Mendoza and another Filipina who previously worked for the Koehler’s — Sherile Pahagas — are suing their common employer for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime and damages.