Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Uber Exec Called Relentless Harasser

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - High-ranking husband-and-wife executives at Uber and Airbnb cheated their housekeeper of wages for years, and the husband sexually harassed her, the Filipina woman claims in court.

Julieta Dela Cruz Yang says she was paid $450 a week to work more than nine hours a day for Uber's head of corporate development Cameron Poetzscher and his wife Varsha Rao, who heads global operations for Airbnb. She sued them as individuals on Wednesday, in Superior Court.

Yang started working for the family in 2008 when they lived in Singapore. In 2013, she says, she followed Poetzscher and Rao to the United States, relying on their promise that they would triple her wages.

In 2014, she says, she was required to sign employment contracts stating she would be paid $12.50 an hour for 35 hours of work per week, though she often worked much longer.

She quit in 2015, after her complaints to Rao about the wage theft and long hours went unaddressed.

Yang also claims that Poetzscher sexually harassed her for years.

While Rao was away from their home in Singapore on one of her frequent work trips, Poetzscher paraded naked in front of her and asked her to massage him, Yang says. She claims that once when he summoned her to his office she walked in to find him naked and masturbating.

One time he "propositioned" her "to perform 'handiwork,'" Yang says in the complaint. It continues: "When plaintiff Yang said she did not understand his request, he feigned surprise that she did not understand the term. He then asked her whether she wanted to earn extra money doing 'massage.'"

Yang says the harassment did not stop when they came to the United States. Poetzscher would disrobe in front of her while she cleaned the master bathroom, interrupted her in the shower to ask that she cook him some food, and often asked whether she was masturbating in the shower, she says.

Yang says she "asked on many occasions to talk to Rao about her concerns," but Rao brushed her off, saying she "did not have time to talk and that whatever Yang needed would have to be handled by Poetzscher."

Yang says she ultimately felt she had no option but to resign.

She seeks unpaid wages and compensatory and punitive damages for wage theft, sexual harassment, minimum wage and overtime violations, and constructive discharge.

She is represented by Hina Shah with the Women's Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University, and by Winifred Kao with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus.

Follow @MariaDinzeo
Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.