US judge recommends $1.5 mn to Indian maid



New York: In a setback to an Indian diplomat, a US judge has recommended that her maid be awarded nearly USD 1.5 million for the "barbaric treatment" and "emotional distress" suffered by her at the hands of her employer for three years.

Shanti Gurung had accused her employer, Neena Malhotra, who at the time was "serving as the Counselor of Press, Culture, Information, Education, and Community Affairs at the Consulate General of India in Manhattan" of slavery. She had come to New York city in 2006 to work as a domestic help, according to court documents.

In the 28-page recommendation filed by US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas yesterday to Judge Victor Marrero of the US District Court Southern District of New York, Maas said he "recommends that Gurung be awarded judgment against the Malhotras in the amount of USD 1,458,335" because of their "barbaric treatment" of her while she was employed as their domestic worker and forced to work long hours without adequate compensation for three years.

Maas said Gurung, who is now in her early twenties was a victim of "outrageous and shocking conduct". Her "documents were seized, her travel was restricted, and she was not permitted to telephone her family.

New York: In a setback to an Indian diplomat, a US judge has recommended that her maid be awarded nearly USD 1.5 million for the "barbaric treatment" and "emotional distress" suffered by her at the hands of her employer for three years.

Shanti Gurung had accused her employer, Neena Malhotra, who at the time was "serving as the Counselor of Press, Culture, Information, Education, and Community Affairs at the Consulate General of India in Manhattan" of slavery. She had come to New York city in 2006 to work as a domestic help, according to court documents.

In the 28-page recommendation filed by US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas yesterday to Judge Victor Marrero of the US District Court Southern District of New York, Maas said he "recommends that Gurung be awarded judgment against the Malhotras in the amount of USD 1,458,335" because of their "barbaric treatment" of her while she was employed as their domestic worker and forced to work long hours without adequate compensation for three years.

Maas said Gurung, who is now in her early twenties was a victim of "outrageous and shocking conduct". Her "documents were seized, her travel was restricted, and she was not permitted to telephone her family.

Shortly after she "escaped," Gurung became "very sick" and was hospitalised.

She said she had developed physical ailments due to the "stress, abuse and malnutrition" she experienced at the hands of the Malhotras.

When contacted, an official at the Indian Consulate said Neena Malhotra finished her tenure at the Consulate several years ago. The official did not comment on the case saying it was a matter before the court.

Maas's recommendations are subject to approval by Marrero, who is overseeing the case.

The External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi had then said the media reports containing allegations against the senior diplomat "do not appear to be in conformity with facts".

PTI