SF Weekly: Airbnb and Uber Executives Sued for Sexual Harassment and Wage Theft by Former Live-In Domestic Worker

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

Photo courtesy of SF Weekly

From SF Weekly:

by Julia Carrie Wong

A former live-in domestic worker for two San Francisco tech executives filed suit against her former employers today, alleging sexual harassment and wage theft. 

A complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court alleges that Cameron Poetzscher, the head of corporate development for Uber, and Varsha Rao, the head of global operations for Airbnb, subjected Julieta Yang to a "sexually hostile work and home environment" and failed to pay her the minimum wage and overtime. 

A 45-year-old mother of three from the Phillipines who worked for Rao and Poetzscher, a married couple, for seven years, Yang announced her lawsuit at a press conference at the Bayanihan Community Center this morning. 

"God will help me in this fight," she said. "I know there are many others like me in this city." 

Yang began working for Poetzscher and Rao — San Francisco residents who have two children — in March 2008 in Singapore. On Yang's first night of work, Poetzscher, who worked for Goldman Sachs before he joined Uber in March 2014, "walked into the kitchen naked and watched [Yang] cook," according to the suit. 

Rao "traveled frequently for work" and when she was absent, Poetzscher routinely sexually harassed Yang,  subjecting his live-in domestic worker to "nudity, comments of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual advances, and unwanted touching," according to the complaint. In one alleged incident, Poetzscher "purposefully bumped into her and rubbed his groin against her."

When Yang complained of his behavior to Poetzscher, Poetzscher would tell her not to say anything to Rao "because she would get angry," Yang's lawsuit alleges.  

In July 2013, Poetzscher and Rao moved from Singapore to San Francisco and offered to triple Yang's wages if she accompanied them. Yang lived with the couple in their home in the Marina until April 15, 2015, when she quit her job, she says,

Yang alleges that she was paid a "fixed weekly rate of $450" throughout her time in San Francisco, "regardless of how many hours she worked." She says she frequently worked nine hours per day, six days a week, and was not provided with legally mandated meal and rest breaks. 

Further, Yang alleges she was required to sign "employment contracts" that stated she worked 30 hours per week for $12.50 an hour, despite the fact that she was working much longer hours.

Read the full article from SF Weekly.