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Housekeeper in Manhattan Files Suit Against Billionaire after Refusing to Hire her Based on National Origin


Virginia Lim, a Filipino housekeeper, has filed a discrimination suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan claiming that she was not hired her because of her national origin. Lim was one of two workers who first filed discrimination complaints with the city's Commission on Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

According to Lim's complaint, in April, her employment agent, Adrian Smith, informed her of a vacancy as a housekeeper for the billionaire couple. The complaint states that since Lim had worked as a housekeeper for nine years, she knew that she was qualified for the position.

After interviewing with the couple's butler, the complaint alleges that the butler responded via email that "he had received instructions not to hire [Lim] because of her national origin." The email went on to say, "No Philippines, Thanks."

Smith was in shock after receiving such a wildly inappropriate response and replied, "Am I talking to the same [person]??" The complaint says that the butler then emailed back: "Sorry, new directions . . . No Philippine since today."

These illegal hiring practices also made news in May when another housekeeper named Esther Winkley also claimed that the couple refused to hire her because of her Filipino-background.

Ms. Lim has filed suit seeking "some level of resolution for the injustice that has been done" and for the emotional distress that it has caused. Ms. Lim's lawyer says that the EEOC has granted permission to pursue the case in federal court. The allegations are serious because they contend that the federal laws against discrimination in addition to state and city laws were violated by this discriminatory conduct.

Regardless of where the lawsuit is brought, federal, state and city laws make it illegal for employers discriminate against an individual based on, among other things, race and national origin.

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