Testimony of Viviane Fando, DOES Budget Hearing
On Wednesday, May 1, 2013, Viviane Fando testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs about her experiences with wage theft and the Office of Wage-Hour, and asked the DC Council to hold the Office of Wage-Hour accountable for enforcing protections against wage theft. Below is the text of her testimony.
I am Viviane Fando. I worked for Ultra Home Health Aid, a home health agency. My boss still owes me five paychecks from 2011 for a total of $4,200. I have still not been paid the wages I am owed.
I started working for Ultra Home Health Aid in January of 2010. I earned $10.50 an hour. From the beginning, I received my paychecks six weeks or two months apart. Many times I asked my employer for my money. My boss kept saying that he didn’t have the money right now but that he would pay me back. In January, 2012, I finally quit because I had not received five of my last seven paychecks.
I went to the Office of Wage-Hour in April, 2012 and met with Ms. Yvonne Hood. I went with all my timesheets and bank statements to show how much they owed me. Ms. Hood said she would contact my boss to let him know about the situation. She told me to go home and said she would call, but then she never did. After one week I called her, and after two weeks I called again. When I finally spoke to her on the phone she kept saying that my boss just doesn’t have the money to pay me, and that they don’t have the time to investigate more.
This happened a year ago and I continue to wait to be paid. My job is to take care of elderly people and I like to take care of those who need help. I enjoy going to work every day but I suffer when my work isn’t properly compensated.
I have bills to pay on my rent, gas, insurance, car, food, clothes, phone and more. I am very disappointed in the Office of Wage-Hour, because when someone goes to that office to get help with their problems, the office needs to do more to stand up and defend the workers. They need to stand up and help those who need it the most. They need to stand up and investigate what is going on at companies like mine, and all the other employers who are doing the same thing.
This situation has been very stressful for me, to work and not get my pay. I think about it all the time because I know it is so much money that I am owed. The DC Office of Wage-Hour needs to do more to help people like me.