Pinoy Workers Sue LA bakery for Alleged Forced Labor, Scant Pay

 A group of Filipino workers has filed a civil case against the owners of a French-style bakery in Los Angeles for alleged labor and wage violations.

A report on International Business Times said the bakery’s owners, Analiza Moitinho De Almeida and her husband Goncalo, shouldered the visa and travel fees of 11 Filipinos but ordered a reimbursement of $11,000 each unless they commit to working for three years.

According to the suit, the Filipinos were promised work as “skilled bakery chefs and managers” but were put into “oppressive and discriminatory conditions as domestic servants, physical laborers engaged in landscaping and building maintenance.”

The workers ended up earning the same wages they earned in a baking venture by Alameida in the Philippines, or $3 an hour for 14-hour workdays at L’Amande’s two branches.

The report quoted an anonymous source as saying that the Almeidas restricted the Filipinos from speaking in Tagalog and favored locally-hired workers. They also fired those who failed to meet their expectations, putting their immigration status in limbo.

A separate report on Huffington Post said the workers were brought in through E-2 visas, designed for qualified investors who needs workers with skills deemed “essential” to the growth of their business.

Laboni Hoq, a lawyer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the advocacy group assisting the Filipinos, said the E-2 visa “allows unscrupulous foreign investors” to accept workers who can be forced “to accept abusive working conditions or risk deportation and retaliation in their home country.”

Both reports said communications sent to the respondents were not immediately returned.

An article on the Asian Journal in December said Almeida is the daughter of Mila Santos, a realty businesswoman, and Juan B. Santos, chairman of Social Security System and retired CEO of Nestle Philippines.

(Source: Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News)

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker