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Aug 19, 2011 10:20 AM

Lidia being sued for enslavement

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  1. Oh Lidia, I hope this woman is wrong about you!
    I enjoyed the comment thread on this article. Esp. the one from Tyrene (near the top of the comments).

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          1. from the article

            But why, for six years, didn't Farina just get up and leave?
            "[Farina] became bonded with this old lady, and didn't want to leave her like that," the lawyer said.

            Ok so they admit she could have left, and chose not to. Sorry that doesn't equal enslavement.

            14 Replies
            1. re: rasputina

              I think Farina was still hoping to get into the culinary world even after this old woman passed away.
              The whole case is just bizarre.
              Why would Lidia bring an Italian chef with no English to America and why would Farina go? Why not just hire a home health worker or caretaker? Obviously, it's cheaper as it turns out...Lots of things don't add up right.
              She got her to the US under dubious circumstances, Farina was new to the US and probably intimidated / grateful to Lidia so she keeps on working, learns English and is settled after 6 years. Enslavement? Probably no, but lied to/taken advantage of? Most likely......

              1. re: rasputina

                I don't think we gave enough information for you to make that call.

                1. re: rasputina

                  i have no idea if the allegations are true. However, if you recall the Elizabeth Smart case, simply because someone is not shackled to a wall does not mean that they are not technically a slave. If you are being paid below the minimum wage or denied basic rights like use of the bathroom, in the very least you qualify as working in sweatshop conditions and at the very worse, you are a slave. If someone who doesn't know English or our legal system is being mistreated, they may not necessarily have the means to leave.

                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                    If anyone can find a denial or statement from Lidia countering the charge, you're a better searcher than I am. I think the woman was quietly paid off so the new book tour could begin. Can't imagine allowing such a scurrilous charge stand, if untrue, and not responding.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Defendants in civil actions are ALWAYS advised by counsel not to comment. And it is extremely difficult to summon up the restraint not to shout out the truth of the matter while the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. It can be the most frustrating chapter of one's life, and expensive, too.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Maybe it's a family thing; Batali and Joe Bastianich are being sued by workers for wage violations, too.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Moneyed people wear a bullseye on their back. Some deserve it, some don't.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            I don't think they do more than anyone else. There are a lot of moneyed people and corporations employing many more folks who aren't being charged with wage and labor violations. It will be interesting to see how these cases play out; nothing is proven yet.

                              1. re: mcf

                                I think they do. If the point is to extract/extort money for some grievance, real or imagined, there is little to gain from sueing a poor person.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Poor folks aren't usually in a position to employ folks and then abuse labor/wage rules, either. It's rampant at least here in NY, with food service among the most flagrant abusers. Eveyrthing must just happen to the Bastianich family.

                                  Most folks want fair pay every week and to be treated with respect much more than they want a lawsuit and to go to court. That's why most folks aren't suing their employers. As for lawyer ads in ethnic papers, well YEAH, immigrant labor, particularly undocumented, is being exploited terribly.

                                  I'd call the article cited by fourunder very, VERY self serving.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    I agree with all you say. One would think the well-to-do have an extra incentive to comply with labor laws in order to keep what they have. Some do, some don't. For the record, I am very much an advocate of immigrant labor with fair working and living conditions. Pay is much more subjective, and is driven by supply and demand.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      As a frinstance, my daughter worked in a popular, long open cafe in Brooklyn a few years ago as a server. The kitchen employees were all undocumented and earning $40 per 10-12 hour shift. :-/

                    2. re: rasputina

                      Jaycee Lee Dugaard could have left too..but she didn't. I'd say the woman who spoke no English was enslaved...just like jaycee.