Melbourne, November 6, 2023: As per media reports, Australia’s federal court has ordered India’s former High Commissioner Navdeep Singh Suri to compensate a former domestic help who was forced to work seven days a week for 17.5 hours and paid just A$9 per day.
In addition, Justice Raper also found that Suri was ineligible to claim foreign state immunity, because Sherghill did not work for the High Commission.
According to the ABC News, Seema Sherghill, who arrived in Australia in April 2015, spent about a year working for Suri at his Canberra home.
Sherghill, who was granted Australian citizenship in 2021, said she was solely responsible for the upkeep of the eight-bedroom house.
The court heard that in total, Sherghill received about A$3,400 for her 13 months of work, which included cleaning the house, preparing meals and tidying the garden, and walking Suri’s dog.
She told the court that Suri’s wife was “very demanding”.
“She often nagged me to work harder, and said to me things such as, I was earning too much money,” the ABC News cited Sherghill as saying.
She fled the residence in May 2016 without taking any of her belongings, and found her way to Australian regulatory authority,Fair Work Ombudsman, who put her in contact with the Salvation Army.
Justice Elizabeth Raper of the federal court found Suri contravened four separate sections of the Fair Work Act.
Court ordered Suri to pay Sherghill more than $136,000 plus interest, within 60 days in compensation for unpaid wages and unfair working conditions.
“Her passport was taken from her, she worked seven days a week, was never permitted to take leave and was only allowed outside the house for brief periods a day when looking after Mr Suri’s dog.”