Local Workers Get Back Wages from Weslaco Company

Pictured left to right, Plaintiffs Manuel Cuevas, Jose Hernandez, Betty Perez, Cristina Lopez, and Abigail Meza. Not pictured is Paz Urbina.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Kathryn Youker, Attorney
956.447.4802
kyouker@trla.org

WESLACO, Texas – March 1, 2010 – Six Rio Grande Valley residents have received an award totaling more than $34,000 in back wages after filing a lawsuit against Weslaco- based Joli’s Orthopedic Shoes and Medical Supplies over unpaid overtime.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) and the Equal Justice Center (EJC), the workers were employed by Joli’s Orthopedic Shoes and Medical Supplies, which has stores across the Rio Grande Valley.  According to the arbitrator’s decision, the workers worked more than forty hours per week but were not paid the required overtime.

One of the workers, Jose Hernandez, said the experience showed him that “if you stand up for your rights, you can get what you should be paid.”

The workers sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Under the FLSA, an employer generally must pay overtime of 1.5 times an employee’s hourly rate for each hour worked beyond forty in a given week.  The FLSA also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for asserting his/her rights under the FLSA.

“Employers often think they can save money by not paying overtime. But they end up spending a lot of money on court proceedings and their attorneys only to find they were required to pay overtime.” added TRLA attorney Kathryn Youker, who represented the workers. “Not paying employees overtime can be a costly mistake.”

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.

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