Three get €80k over ‘horrific’ working situation

UAE ambassador struck women and referred to them as ‘rubbish’

The United Arab Emirates ambassador to Ireland attacked the three women in his employment, who were last month awarded €80,000 each for enduring “horrific” working conditions.

In its formal report on the case published yesterday, the Employment Appeals Tribunal reveals shocking evidence that Khalid Nasser Rashed Lootah struck one of the women and hit all three of them with a towel.

This happened because one of the women could not get the ambassador’s son to eat his dinner and he had a fit of temper.

Lootah had regular violent verbal outbursts and referred to the women as “rubbish” and “scavengers”, the tribunal said.

The women felt scared and trapped; were not allowed leave the ambassador’s residence; and had to be rescued by the Migrant Centre of Ireland on January 12, 2012.

The women — Myra Calderon, Laylanie Lapanga, and Jennifer Vilaranda —took their claim against Lootah and his wife, Mehra Metad Alghubaisi.

They originally began working for the family in the UAE but moved to Ireland with them in April 2011.

Ms Calderon told the tribunal they shared a room with two beds and their employers held their passports.

The tribunal said: “The appellants were placed with the respondents by an employment agency in the Philippines.

“They moved to Ireland with the respondents from the United Arab Emirates in April 2011. They lived and worked in the private residence of the respondents. They commenced their duties daily at 6.30am and finished most days close to midnight. They were not permitted to retire for the evening until the respondents had done so. Evidence was adduced that they worked at least 15 hours per day, seven days per week and received €170 each in cash per month.

“Ms Calderon, when asked by the tribunal, stated that she had never received a payslip or any pay-related documentation. When asked if her PRSI or USC charges were paid she stated that she did not know.

“They were only permitted to take a 15-minute break in the morning and again in the evening. They all shared one room with only two beds. Two of the appellants had to share one bed.

“Their duties involved caring for the respondents’ children together with the entire spectrum of domestic duties. They stated that they were regularly subjected to verbal abuse and were often referred to as ‘rubbish’ and ‘scavengers’. They were also subjected to physical abuse on occasions.

“Evidence was adduced that the first-named respondent physically hit one of them on an occasion when he lost his temper because Ms Lapanga could not get his son to eat his dinner. In a fit of temper, he upturned the table and all of its contents and then proceeded to hit them all using a towel. He was said to have regular violent verbal outbursts which were directed at them.

“The second-named respondent on one occasion threw wet clothes into the face of one of the appellants whilst verbally chastising her because she wanted to wear the clothes which had been washed.

“The appellants stated that they were all scared and felt trapped. They were not permitted to leave the residence and had no facilities to communicate with anyone. On the night of the 12th January, 2012, they were ‘rescued’ from the residence with the help of the Migrant Centre of Ireland.”

The tribunal awarded each of the women €80,000.

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