Labor Dept. Alleges OC Firm's CEO Made Domestic Worker Sleep with Dogs

“As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow,” Himanshu Bhatia once told a business publication.

The U.S. government accuses the IT staffing company founder, who has two homes in San Juan Capistrano and an office in Irvine, of behavior that includes making a domestic employee work 15.5 hours a day, seven days a week, and sleep on a carpet in a garage near Bhatia's dogs. 

The U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint on Aug. 22 against the Rose International CEO, who is accused of forcing Sheela Ningwal to “work and live in servitude, without any understanding of her rights as an employee or ability to adequately enforce her rights, since Ms. Ningwal’s attempts to enforce her rights resulted not only in the loss of her employment, but of food and shelter.” 

Ningwal, who worked for $400 a month plus food from July 2012 through December 2014, claims Bhatia confiscated the domestic's passport, made her sleep in the garage even when she was ill and left her no food when leaving home.

Claiming she was fired after Bhatia discovered she was researching U.S. labor laws on a computer, Ningwal seeks an unspecified amount to cover unpaid back wages plus additional damages.

Rose International, which recently issued a statement claiming Ningwal's allegations are false, was started in 1993 by Bhatia and her husband in their then-home in Chesterfield, Mo. As of 2011, Rose International clients included AT&T, Chevron, Verizon, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, Smart Business reported. The company boasted $318 million in revenue and 6,000 employees in 2015, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

County property records for a woman named Himanshu Bhatia include a modest house on Calle San Remo in San Juan Capistrano that was bought in 2013 for $446,000 and an estate on three acres of land that was gifted to Sunny Nikhil Bhatia in 2014 and valued at $2.8 million, the Orange County Register reports.

Besides those residential properties, Bhatia owns others in Long Beach, Miami and Las Vegas, according to the Reggie's Hannah Madans.

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