Immigrant Laborers File Wage Theft Lawsuit to Reclaim Years of Backpay

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In an attempt to reclaim years of backpay they claim they are owed by their employer, immigrant workers in New Jersey filed a wage theft lawsuit just a week after the state imposed stricter penalties. The group of eight immigrants filed a class action lawsuit suing the car wash where they worked alleging they were not receiving minimum wage or overtime payment they were due.

The wage and hour and overtime class action lawsuit alleged that the car wash, Caribbean Car Wash Inc., and the carwash owners were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA and the state wage and hour law. Plaintiffs allege that it was standard policy at the carwash to allow managers to take the tips of their workers and that the company failed to comply with record-keeping requirements with proper and complete time sheets or records.

The exploitation of immigrant workers in the car wash industry is a widespread issue that happens all too frequently. Many immigrant workers are unaware of their employment rights and are afraid that they will lose their job if they speak up. It is important for immigrant workers to know that the law protects them regardless of their immigration status. Plaintiffs in the suit are Rigoberto Andux Mirabal, Gabriel Cano Arango, Yoan Aquino Martinez, Lucas Alberto Pedronzo Toledo, Julio Cesar Ochoa, Nelson Batista Corbo, William Ricardo Antunez Valdez, and the estate of Carlos Alberto. The plaintiffs listed the Caribbean Car Wash, Oscar Ulpiano, and Roberto Ulpiano (both manage employees and operate the business) as Defendants.

According to plaintiffs in the case, the owner (who owns around 100 car washes and gas stations) employs mostly Latino immigrants and regularly orders them to arrive at work early for their shifts but does not allow them to clock in until customers arrive. Workers also allege that when business is slow, they are required to clock out but remain on duty until more customers arrive. This causes workers to put in many hours without pay.

If you are required to work off the clock or your employer is in violation of employment law, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik and DeBlouw LLP today.