Pinay sues ex-employer for unpaid overtime wages

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Feb 15 2013 04:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2013 12:44 AM

NEW YORK– Gemma Lagrazon is suing her employer to recover money damages for unpaid overtime wages.

Lagrazon says from 2008 to 2012 she worked as a counter person for Symphony Cleaners, a laundry and dry cleaning service in Manhattan.

She claims she received a flat pay rate of $800 per week or $10 per hour with no overtime pay.

"Actually basta na lang niya akong tinanggal, I worked very hard on that, like, I open at 7 a.m. and I close at 7 p.m. I work six days a week," Lagrazon said.

When Lagrazon sought the help of a labor and employment lawyer to sue her employer possibly for wrongful termination, Attorney Herbert Tan said that was not the case. He said Lagrazon’s employer was shortchanging her for not paying overtime wages.

She worked about 70 hours a week in almost almost three years. Employers are required to pay overtime pay in excess of 40 hours of work per week.

Attorney Tan said, “They’re very hard working people, they’re probably some of the best workers that I have dealt with, problem is they’re taken advantage of many times, I understand some people are scared, they don’t like to sue.”

Tan says Lagrazon filed a case against Symphony Cleaners for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act at the Southern District Court of New York.

Lagrazon is seeking about $52,000 in unpaid overtime and unliquidated damages plus attorney’s fees.

Lagrazon said. “Dapat talaga, matuto tayong lumaban, kasi nasa tama tayo eh.”

Balitang America tried to contact the Symphony Cleaners owners but has not heard back from them at this time.