Ramon worked as a butcher in the same market for over three years. He was paid a flat weekly salary with no overtime, even though he was working 72 hours per week. His boss treated him badly – demanding that he put in long hours without any breaks, pressuring him to work faster and faster, and becoming angry rather than concerned when he got injured on the job. Even though Ramon had the same level of work experience as his co-workers, his boss paid him half as much, simply because he was Latino.
Ramon knew that what his employer was doing was wrong and felt that he should be paid at least minimum wage. But like many people, he did not know that he had a legal right to do something about it. He did not realize that most labor laws, including the laws about minimum wage and overtime, apply to everyone, not just to citizens or immigrants who have “papers.”
When he learned about Catholic Migration Services at a housing meeting at St. Sebastian’s parish, Ramon decided to come to the office in Sunnyside to speak with an attorney about his problems at work. The attorneys in the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program at CMS listened to his story and helped him to file a lawsuit against his employer. It took time and effort, but Ramon finally got paid.