DENVER — A Denver Mexican butcher shop and greengrocer, Carniceria y Verduleria Guadalajara, recently settled a wage suit brought by its immigrant workers. The settlement of the workers’ Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims amounted to $305,000. The class included forty to fifty largely immigrant workers, who will get $173,701 of the total settlement amount to compensate them, and the lead plaintiff, Walter Orlando Mancia Rivera, will get a $7,500 incentive award. $100,000 will go toward attorneys’ fees, and the remaining amount will pay for administrative expenses.
Wage Theft Allegations
The plaintiff, who worked at the store from 2009 to 2013, alleged in the lawsuit that the company paid flat weekly salaries and mandated long hours. The company allegedly required workers to routinely work more than 40 hours a week but were not paid either minimum wage or overtime.
Employees covered by FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. This requirement applies on a workweek basis. A lump sum paid for work performed during overtime hours without regard to the number of overtime hours worked does not qualify as an overtime premium even though the amount of money paid is equal to or greater than the sum owed on a per-hour basis. Additionally, fixed salaries for regular workweeks longer than 40 hours does not discharge the time-and-a-half pay that employers are obligated to pay under FLSA.
FLSA and Immigration Status
FLSA is a workplace protection law that covers workers regardless of immigration status. FLSA defines “employee” very broadly. Courts have stated that if Congress wished to exclude certain immigrants from the FLSA’s protections, it could have done so explicitly but declined to do so. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that it will continue to enforce FLSA regardless to whether an employee is documented or undocumented. State laws vary as to limitations on state wage requirements based on workers’ immigration status; however, both California and New York labor laws do not limit coverage based on immigration status.
Employers should not be depriving employees of wages they lawfully earned, regardless of immigration status. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel your employee wage rights have been violated. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.