$10,000 Settlement Reached in Unpaid Overtime Case
Earlier this week, three EJC clients received their full unpaid wages and partial liquidated damages as part of a $10,000 settlement agreement with a former employer. The clients worked for about two months as electricians and electrician’s assistants, renovating a fast-food restaurant in a small town in eastern Maryland. At the beginning of the project, their supervisor told them, “this is not an overtime job.” The workers reluctantly conceded to this order (though overtime pay cannot be waived), and they began working on the project, commuting nearly four hours each day to the site on some days. They worked overtime – over 40 hours in a week – nearly every week of the project, but continued to receive the same straight-time rate for their overtime hours.
One of the three workers was not paid at all. At the end of the project this worker asked his employer when he would receive his pay, and his employer said, “in two weeks.” Two weeks later, he called his employer, and his employer said he would be paid in another two weeks. On it went for two months. The worker eventually went to the EJC’s Workers’ Rights Clinic, where volunteers helped him prepare a letter to his former employer. He received no response to this letter. Missing out on the ~$4,000 he was expecting from the work, this worker had trouble paying rent, and eventually had to bring family appliances and electronics to a pawn shop to get cash to make ends meet. With the money he received from this settlement, he has since been able to reclaim these items.
The EJC’s legal staff got involved, and eventually a settlement was reached with the employer that avoided additional litigation time and expense, and provided these workers with their earned unpaid wages and overtime.