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Kobe Bryant's ex-housekeeper sues, accuses Vanessa Bryant of harassment

Kobebryant A former housekeeper for Lakers  superstar Kobe Bryant is suing him and his wife, Vanessa, contending that she was verbally abused and humiliated while she worked at the Bryants' Newport Coast home.

Maria Jimenez, an immigrant originally from Peru, filed a lawsuit March 20 in Orange County Superior Court, her lawyer said. Jimenez claims Vanessa Bryant badgered and harassed Jimenez and forced her to perform demeaning tasks.

Jimenez worked 60 hours a week in Bryants' home from September 2007 to March 2008, cleaning their house, washing their laundry and cleaning up after their children. The lawsuit alleges that Vanessa Bryant called Jimenez "lazy," "slow," "dumb," a "liar" and also used profanity.

On one occasion, the lawsuit alleged, Vanessa Bryant screamed at Jimenez after one of the Bryants' children came to her for comfort: "I don't want you to touch my baby. I hired you for housekeeping, not babysitting." After Jimenez complained about her workload and not having breaks, Vanessa Bryant said to Jimenez, "You haven't done anything."

Jimenez claimed that Vanessa Bryant suggested that Jimenez had stolen clothes, a toy, and her retainer from the Bryants.

Jimenez also alleged that Vanessa Bryant screamed at her for putting a $690 blouse in the washing machine, and demanded Jimenez put her hand in a bag of dog feces to retrieve the price tag for the blouse. Jimenez refused and said she would quit, but Vanessa Bryant demanded that she pay for the blouse first. Jimenez alleged she stayed on to pay for the blouse.

In the lawsuit, Jimenez said she suffered damages of more than $20,000.

-- My-Thuan Tran

More on the story at KTLA News, including the complaint.

Photo: Vanessa and Kobe Bryant in 2004 at the American Music Awards. Photo: Carlo Allegri / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (29)

So, how exactly does this woman prove that all this happen?? Also, why didn't she quit when she felt she was made to work too hard and for too many hours? This is America. If we don't like our jobs we can get another job. Didn't she know this?

poor woman, no wonder Coby cheated on her the first chance he got.

IF this is true...it's just another sad chapter in Kobe's life. Obviously, a having a lot of money does not equate to having a lot of class and respect for others.

She may not be able to prove what she states happened but I believe it . Also, she's only suing for 20k instead of millions. Thats like $20.00 to Kobe. Total tip money.

Vanessa has never had to work for a living and never will. So she lacks perspective of the working class The housekeeper could of quit, but the chances of an immigrant finding another job in this economy (back then too) would be slim to none. So no, she doesnt know she can get another job thus cherishing the one she has. MSLEWIS, are you hiring? because alot of people are not.

If I felt I was not being treated well, Id quit. You could consider all kinds of jobs as being demeaning. the problem is that the payoff for dealing with 'mistreatment' is way too rewarding.

I hate when people use the phrase "This is America." Check the unemployment rates in California guy, we don't just quit our jobs and get a new one anymore. Why don't you just wait and see what proof she has. How does anyone prove sexual or verbal abuse? I love Kobe, but lets not let that cloud our judgment. Vanessa may be guilty, let watch the courts decide.

Another disgruntled worker who's looking for a big payday from her rich boss, as her money-grubbing lawyer hopes for a big settlement, since he knows he has nothing except the housekeeper's word....maybe he can get her a book deal as well!

Maybe Vanessa is still mad about Kobe’s affair and taking it out on the housekeeper??

I know from first-hand experience, mine and my friends' and neighbors', that maids become very demanding and learn very fast that the easiest way to get more money is to sue or threaten to sue. I had maids who ruined furniture, stained glass by scrubbing off the etching that made them valuable thinking they were "dirty" and costing me thousands, ruined appliances by ripping them out, and yes, ruining and shrinking expensive clothing by not knowing how to follow directions. Many maids make employers pay for their car repairs, even a new car and their insurance -- claiming that if they're required to drive up a hill to your house, or to do errands, their car has been ruined. They try anything they can.

As for working 60 hours/ week, it's legal for live-ins to work up to 12 hours/ day. It's 8 hours/ day for those who live out, and my neighbor who had to work 10 hours/ day was paying 2 maids to fulfill the time limits, but found they would then each try to leave the "dirty work" like toilets and cleaning up after the dog for the other one, so nothing got done. In my case a maid said she needed 3 days/ week to clean my house, but just dragged out the work, dumped a whole bottle of cleaning liquid into the toilet for one use, same with paper towels and other cleaning supplies. They come from places where they don't know how to value top-quality clothing and furniture and have no environmental/ cost concerns, but if you tell them anything they get angry and say you're being mean.

This was despite good pay and getting free food, fine-quality second-hand clothing and objects, etc. They would gossip, as all on my street do, about "how awful" the lady of the house is, and how mistreated they are.

I'll bet this maid got free food as well as place to live, saving all her money, and then got haughty and didn't want to do "demeaning tasks" like clean the toilet, stuff she was hired to do. The dog feces episode sounds extreme but I don't believe it -- she probably added that to make it sound more extreme. If she didn't want to repay the cost of the blouse she could have just left, she wasn't held hostage. This is true not just of Latino immigrants, but many ethnicities come here and think they should be "equal" to the employers after a short time. It's this kind of thing that makes me unwilling to hire immigrant maids except on an hourly/ occasional basis.

In the lawsuit, Jimenez said she suffered damages of more than $20,000. UNBELIEVABLE!!! No wonder our legal system is a joke!!!! Did they calculate her time vs. salary to come up with the monetary suffering or did they calculate by the word!!!

i hope there is evidence. that would be entertaining.

wow, why do people defend sports stars blindly.
the woman was obviously mistreated. 20k? thats justice not extorsion.
shame on all people who defend their sports idols.
and no, people work to feed their families, and take as much abuse as they can to make that happen.
easy case.
ego vs. humility

If she can prove pay was not given due to washing the shirt she may have a case there, the state of california will not allow you to withold money for stupidity as you do your job. same as withholding money from a dishwasher for breaking glasses.

Now if there was a signed ageeement saying she could withdrawl the money she would not have a case, I doubt that they did.

She may be at least owed the last day of pay plus interest and penalties

Which one is truth on this matter, Easy Money Seeker or Harrasing Personality? I bet Easy Money Seeker.

We see Kobe publicly berating his teammates just about every night. Does anyone really believe for a second that him and his wife don't privately berate their housekeeper too?

Keep in mind the only thing mentioned about Kobe is that it's his house, not that he did anything wrong. The alleged misdeeds are right in line with the known character of Kobe's wife. Of course that proves nothing, but it does indicate you shouldn't simply jump to judgment against the maid...

No way a jury in California rules against Kobe in this civil case.
vr, Xei

Suspicious--perhaps you ought to go to an agency, hire professional help and pay a living wage.

Nice Mouth Sweetie

First of all it doesn't matter what type of work you do, people should not be treated badly. Just because you are rich doesn't make you right. If this housekeeper were truly trying to get over, then why just sk for $20,000.00. And another thing, I would not have continued to work to repay for the blouse, things happen and Vanessa has enough money to buy another one!!

We see Kobe publicly berating his teammates just about every night. Does anyone really believe for a second that him and his wife don't privately berate their housekeeper too?

Posted by: Jonathan | March 25, 2009 at 03:50 PM

Kobe, berating his teammates just about everynight....BERATING? That is what you call it?

That is what you call it when the team isn't playing the way they should, that is whatyou call it when those silly mental mistakes are made? Whew, dude I have met your kind before. The ones who don't like the fire put under their tails when they are screwing up and not using what they have learned or following the system. Yea, I met them in the U.S Army and you know what? They don't last, they either wash out or not make it period. Its a similar thing. Its a team and those guys are young, they play based on moods (instead of playing like professionals knowing that is what they get paid to do) and if they feel like they don't "got it" they slack or blow big leads or screw up defensive assignments.

Sometimes "come on guys you can do it!" is just not enough. You want that garbage, look to the other side of the bench, there are the cheerleaders. Look all around you, there are the fans, thats what they pay to come do, be entertained and gin their team up. Kobe Bryant is the leader of the team, not a dawg-on cheerleader. If the boys are screwing up, its his job to crack that whip. "Oh he's yelling at me.." aww that is so cute. Stop watching the games if you don't like to see the guy yelling at his teammates to pull their head out of their arses.

Get your eyesight checked too; Jordan yelled at his teammates, Shaq yelled at his teammates, Barkley yelled, Magic yelled, Lebron isn't exactly berating his teammates but by teasing with all that New York 2010 crap is just as berating to the franchise. Heck, even Andrew Bynum berated his teammates. Don't believe me? Go Youtube Andrew Bynum screaming at Sasha, google Sasha yelling at Mbenga, Farmar berating Mbenga. But no, Kobe must be perfect and if you see him sneeze on TV, then we must talk about it. If Kobe was a race instead of a person what happened to blacks in this country (and I am for the record) would look like Mardi Gras compared to what people like YOU would do to the Kobes.

Get over yourself, get over yourselves. This grasping at straws to downplay Kobe thing is stale. Want to talk about Kobe, talk about his shooting slump and how he's had two this season, maybe he should've never played in the Olympics, talk about his lack of aggression in the Finals...oh I'm sorry...when Kobe is feeling it and he's aggressive thats him being a ball hog. Talk about how he's settling for too many jump shots, talk about how he's not going to Pau Gasol enough. Oh I'm sorry, this article wasn't about Kobe on the floor, it was more about his wife.

As for that worker, there are two sides to a story and if that happened to her then she deserves every dime. I wondered if she took notes, that would be the smart thing. If Mrs. Bryant did berate her so what, I might as well sue the Army for firing the F bomb at me in Basic Training, I mean...it wasn't in my contract. The question should be in all of this...was pay withheld from her. I think she'll get her money though, the Bryants might want this to disappear...shoot, who knows, the Lakers might just cut Kobe from the team. And to address someone's smart line about Kobe's affair my God you people's holier-than-thou attitude makes me vomit 10/10 times. The guy is not God, if you thought he was then fine...you people sound like that adult who was once the kid who was never picked for a game of 5 on 5 by players like Kobe. So bitter. You creeps scare me, at you guys' rate I think Kobe is more vulnerable to .45 caliber than Hitler was during his time.
I'm not done with you or anyone who wants to give this legs yet...get at me!

None of us know what took place in Kobe's palace, do we? We know only of allegations of abuse, which may or may not be true. However, when the poor and powerless make a claim against the privileged--in this case, the pampered wife of an NBA star, it's distressing how many turn on the alleged victim.
The comments made by "suspicious" made my blood boil. I've worked as a personal assistant to some of LA's wealthiest and most spoiled rotten. I was appalled by the way they treated their household staff--the maids and nannies who pick up their kids from school, who scurry behind them like doting mothers carrying Prada bags and bottles of Voss water. None of them were provided health care--even after years of faithful employment. One sixties-ish housekeeper was told to climb a ladder and wash the outside windows of a two-story mansion. (She did; she was afraid to lose her job.) In my experience, this is the predominant experience of domestics, NOT the sort of reverse exploitation "suspicious" describes. Although I observed that same kind of "poor me" attitude from my mega-wealthy employers. These are the individuals who insure things and not people--like the imported chandeliers hanging in their pride-and-joy's bedroom, but not the housekeeper who feeds him breakfast. (You'll see them later at the charity gala receiving a plaque because they care so much about humanity.) They simply have no context for what it means to worry about paying rent and taking care of their own children and jumping through hoops for a clueless brat who thinks a rough day is when Nobu runs out of bluefin tuna.
If this former housekeeper wanted to take the Bryants to the cleaners, $20k is unlikely to make much of a dent.

Suggestion for: suspicious | March 25, 2009 at 01:51 PM

Now there are certainly good and bad workers in any line of work and neither defines ALL. If the workers you had did not fulfill you needs then you should have let them go. Now, if they weren't hired by an agency or you didn't have a contract, well then learn a lesson. Did you pay them under the table (no taxes were paid)? Was CA labor law followed? Did you have a background check or references from prior employers (did you folow up on those)? Did you pay a living wage? If most if not all were followed then you may have got what you paid for. Either hire form a respectable aganecy or if such issues in hiring good housecleaners are a problem then do the chores yourself.

If this article is accurate, this lawsuit will be dismissed shortly. The thing is, it's just not unlawful to berate employees and otherwise treat them badly. If it were, 3/4 of the workforce would be suing their employers. As an attorney, I was left wondering why another attorney would waste his/her time filing such a lawsuit. There must be more to it than is in this article.

Kobe is the good guy here. This is mostly about Vanessa,’’ said Jimenez’s lawyer, William Vogeler


perhaps the times should write about the whole truth, you failed to mentioned that the maid's lawyer made sure to say that this was in no way related to kobe, but since he's the one with the money not vanessa. why don't you report the news as it is?

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