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By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser P.C.
Two companies have recently agreed to settle wage and hour claims involving immigrant employees for between $300,000 and $500,000. In one case, Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc. and three owners or officers settled with U.S. Department of Labor by agreeing to pay $437,300 in wages and damages to employees, many of whom were immigrants, plus a $62,700 civil penalty. Additionally, Corriveau Painting agreed to stop intimidating employees with threats to report them to immigration authorities.
In a separate case, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn approved a $305,000 settlement between Carniceria y Verduleria Guadalajara, a Mexican butcher shop and grocer ( located in Denver), and workers - who were mainly immigrants, concerning the employer’s alleged failure to pay minimum wage and overtime. The plaintiff, Mancia Rivera, who worked at Guadalajara from 2009 to 2013, sued through a class action accusing the store of routinely working employees more than 40 hours a week, but not paying them minimum wage, or time-and-a-half for overtime, as the law requires. The workers received $173,701 to compensate them for wage losses, lead plaintiff Rivera received an additional $7,500 incentive award, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys received $100,000 with the remaining $25,000 going toward administrative expenses.
Although Guadalajara did not commit any immigration violations, often employers, such as Corriveau Painting, who hire immigrants, undocumented and documented workers, also violate wage and hour laws.