Mr. M’s Story
Originally a client of the housing program, Mr. M learned that CMS also works on employment matters and came to the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program when his employer fired him and refused to pay his last week’s wages.
As it turned out, that was just the tip of the iceberg of the employer’s illegal pay practices. He had worked as a butcher in a market for nearly four years, collecting a flat weekly salary in cash off the books. His salary fell far short of minimum wage, and he never got paid overtime, even though he worked 12-hour shifts, 6 days per week. And even though Mr. M had the same level of experience as the other butchers in the market, his salary was half of theirs – simply because he did not speak the employer’s language.
The workers’ rights attorneys at CMS helped Mr. M bring a lawsuit in federal court against his former employer and ultimately negotiated a settlement on his behalf. The amount he recovered from his employer was several times over the last week’s wages he had initially believed he was owed. Before he spoke with his attorneys at CMS, Mr. M did not know that labor laws apply to him, an undocumented worker. The money from the settlement has enabled Mr. M to repay debts that he accrued when he was earning substandard wages, and is enabling him to pay his rent going forward.