Basic Instinct actress Sharon Stone, 54, is at the center of a lawsuit from her former live-in nanny Erlinda Elemen, 52, who is alleging that the star subjected her to derogatory racial slurs, false accusations of stealing and termination without cause.
The Huffington Post reports that the complaint – filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday – alleges that in 2010, Sharon subjected Erlinda to slurs about her Filipino heritage, accent, food and Christian religion. The lawsuit also says that Sharon requested Erlinda to stop speaking to the children so that they wouldn’t “talk like you.” Sharon is also accused of ridiculing the nanny for attending church and went as far as to forbid her from reading the Bible in the actress’ home.
The lawsuit continues to allege that things got worse for Erlinda – a Filipino immigrant and U.S. legal resident – in January 2011. Apparantly, Sharon paid her overtime for working during holidays and traveling but later accused her of “stealing” by accepting the overtime pay. After Elemen complained and refused to return the pay, Stone began cutting her hours and berating her in front of other staff members, eventually firing her for no reason.
Elemen – who began working for the actress in 2006 and was promoted to head nanny in 2008 – is being represented by Los Angeles, Calif. attorney Solomon Gresen.
“Because abuses in overtime pay are common for household employees, it seems ironic that Ms. Stone initially did the right thing and paid Mrs. Elemen overtime wages, and then terminated her for accepting those same wages,” he says in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
“It is very common that domestic workers are put down because it’s in the realm of servantry,” says Aquilina Soriano, executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center in Los Angeles. “I think it’s really great that she is filing a case, because a lot of times people are too afraid to file a case against these things.”
“I think there is discrimination against the Filipino accent, and we’ve seen it in other cases,” he adds. “If it were a French accent, it probably won’t have been seen as a negative.”
In response to the complaint, Sharon’s representatives released this statement to The Huffington Post:
This is an absurd lawsuit that has been filed by a disgruntled ex-employee who is obviously looking to get money any way she can. After she was terminated approximately 1½ years ago, she filed claims for alleged disability and workers’ compensation. Now, she is obviously looking for another opportunity to cash in. This is a frivolous lawsuit for absurd claims that are made-up and fabricated. Sharon Stone will be completely vindicated in court.”